MINSK, 13 April (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with President of the Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpishchev on 13 April, BelTA has learned.
“It's been a long time since we've seen each other, an eternity,” the head of state said greeting Shamil Tarpishchev, who once helped Aleksandr Lukashenko learn to play tennis. “This is my tennis teacher,” the president added.
“I only looked up to you. That is why I am a student,” Shamil Tarpishchev responded.
“No, no, you taught Yeltsin how to play tennis, and taught me too,” the Belarusian leader said. “I used to play tennis pretty well at one time. But it is a very hard sport. It seems to me that it is the hardest one. It requires both strong mind and physical shape. It is also the most traumatic [sport]. But tennis is a very good thing.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that when he learned about his upcoming meeting with Shamil Tarpishchev, he decided to resume his tennis lessons: “When I saw our meeting in my schedule, I thought: I need to go to the court and start playing tennis. I am not going to be too active, but I will resume my game slowly.”
“Let others run,” the head of the Russian Tennis Federation joked. He presented the Belarusian president with his book “Stress Makes Champions. Secrets of Psychology” about typical and sometimes unique examples of how a psychological state makes even a trained athlete give up winning positions or, conversely, successfully emerge from a seemingly hopeless situation. “Fourteen critical examples are examined by a coach and a psychologist,” the author explained. Now he is writing a sequel, since, as he said, the book sold out immediately. The president replied that he knew about the book and considered the topic chosen by the author to be relevant, interesting and important.
The head of the Russian Tennis Federation told the media after the meeting with the president and the conversation covered the current state of affairs in tennis, both in terms of domestic competitions and in international arena. “First of all, we discussed issues related to tennis in our countries and in the world. If we take the results of the Belarusian and Russian tennis players then we are the strongest ones in the world because we have won practically everything,” the head of the Russian Tennis Federation said.
The parties also discussed support and development of children's and youth sports, readjustment of the competition and training camp calendars in view of the sports situation around Belarus and Russia. The emphasis was made on the friendly countries. “The interest is more in not losing the system and the methods we have developed. We have the same coaches (from the Soviet Union), the same school, the same understanding of classical tennis. We need to support kids from 12 to 19 years old, our nearest reserves. For this, we have joined our competitions and training camps,” Shamil Tarpishchev said.
According to the head of the federation, it is very easy to talk to the president of Belarus about sports and reach mutual understanding, because Aleksandr Lukashenko “is not only an outstanding person, he is also a good specialist in all kinds of sports, because he himself is a keen sportsman”. “We don't have any problems. I think we will not fail in tennis. We have a lot of star players. As far as the system and methods of training is concerned, in such a difficult time we are not in a worse position in tennis, and maybe even in a better one [than in other sports]. That's good,” Shamil Tarpishchev stressed.
According to him, the federation regularly holds amateur tournaments to popularize tennis. One of them will take place in Minsk in the Tennis Palace of the National Olympic Training Center on 15-16 April. The tournament for the Cup of the Russian embassy in Belarus will be dedicated to the Day of Unity of the two countries. The tournament will feature 16 pairs of tennis players (eight from Russia and Belarus each) including famous politicians, businessmen and public figures.
Shamil Tarpishchev is confident that such competitions give an additional impulse to the development of tennis in the regions and prove that people of absolutely different ages can show themselves in this kind of sport.