If you could have a room full of anything, what would it be full of?
What is the best relationship advice you've ever gotten?
That is too long and too deep to answer in a short [interview]. We would need one hour to just talk about that one answer.
If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
(Laughs) I need to think about these answers it's not that easy, I need to analyze a lot of stuff. I don't think that you would chose any meal for the rest of your life.
But if you HAD to....
But how can they make me? Who is gonna make me? (laughter)
I'm going to make you!
No, I wanna see the person that is going to make me! (laughter)
What is one thing you would change about yourself?
How happy would you rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 right now?
Define me happiness.
Define me joyful. I'll answer you this question. Happiness and joy is a momentary thing. I think that we feel happy, for example, I win a match, I feel happy. There is a Chinese or Japanese saying that if we are happy for a minute, truly happy, then we made it. I'm going for the minute.
What is the last gift that you gave someone?
Small gifts I give without even concentrating on them, but I enjoy giving flowers to girls.
When was the last time you gave flowers to a girl?
Three weeks ago.
What is the last gift you received?
Ay, ya, ya! These are tough questions.
No they are not.
Yes they are! On this birthday I received nothing, but honestly I don't need anything. Not that I have everything, but for me there is just not much need for any material gift. If I have a great relationship with somebody that is a gift in itself I think.
What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
I think that maybe in the tennis world people are watching my matches and think that I am a bit of an asshole on the court sometimes. But that is maybe the misconception, because I don't consider myself an asshole I consider myself an emotional player and when I am not emotional I am just a calm regular guy, you know.
If I came to your house for dinner, what would you cook me?
I would cook you definitely some Russian stuff, you know, some Russian soups like Borscht. I would make you black caviar with pancakes and sour cream, and then some Russian dumplings also with sour cream.
Are you a good cook?
I can, I can.
If I called your mom right now, what would she say about you?
She is an actress! Don't believe her! (laughter)
What is the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
I've eaten horse.
Was it good?
It is part of Uzbekistan kitchen, so it's a common thing for them.
I have horses, that makes me sad.
I'm sorry. (smiles)
Last question, how would you rate me as an interviewer?
I like the questions. I would rate you probably 9 because nobody is perfect, but I really like the questions because I don't have an answer for most of them. I need to think about them. But I need longer time to think about them.
Well, maybe I'll get you in Cincinnati, so we can continue.
Photo by Monique Phipps for OnTheGoTennis