Russia celebrates maiden victory

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:27 IST

President Vladimir Putin hailed Russian tennis players on Monday as an exultant nation celebrated its first ever Davis Cup victory.

Russia celebrates maiden victory

Moscow:

President Vladimir Putin hailed Russian tennis players on Monday as an exultant nation celebrated its first ever Davis Cup victory. "It's a major and bright victory for all Russian sport," Putin said in televised comments from China, where he was on a state visit. Mikhail Youzhny sealed Russia's victory by beating France's Paul-Henri Mathieu in a stunning game during which he overcame his initial two-set deficit in a dramatic rebound, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. The victory made the little-known 20-year-old an instant hero for the nation, which has long sought a Davis Cup victory. Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, a tennis player himself, was at Bercy stadium for all five matches and stormed into the arena to hug the winning team. "This is a dream for us," Yeltsin said on Monday on Russia's ORT television. "We won in a difficult struggle". Youzhny was a late replacement for Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who was worn out by his doubles defeat. Earlier on Sunday, another Russian star, Marat Safin, made up for his defeat in the doubles match by stunning France's top-ranked player, Sebastien Grosjean. "I would like to thank all our athletes, all three tennis players who took part in the Davis Cup. Each of them made his contribution and together they achieved a great result," Putin said. (AP)

Topics : Tennis
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