Five years ago Yevgeny Kafelnikov was listed as the top male tennis player in the world. But now the 30-year-old Russian, twice a Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist in Sydney, has decided to give up his sports career. He is reported to have started a new life as a poker aficionado.
Yevgeny’s tennis achievements count a lot of prestigious sports awards since he won such tournaments as the 1996 French Open, the 1999 Australian Open, the 2002 Davis Cup, 26 ATP titles and many others. But nowadays while nobody sees him on tennis courts, some poker gurus can find him playing at various poker competitions.
According to The Independent, Kafelnikov has arrived in Maidstone, Kent to try his hand in the 888.com Pacific Poker Open. This tournament offers a chance to win substantial amounts of prize money comparable to the big tennis events. The Pacific Poker Open gives an opportunity to take home $10,000 if the player gets through round one and provides an attractive $500,000 to the tournament winner.
Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who is used to preparing himself for competition properly, has also invited his compatriot Kirill Gerasimov, the professional poker’s Rookie of the Year in 2002. Kirill will share his poker knowledge with the tennis guru, who has already showed his impressive poker abilities. At a tournament in Moscow he defeated Dave Colclough, the Roger Federer of European poker.
Some of his poker ‘partners’ say that Kafelnikov exploits his aggressive tennis tactics in poker as well. “I find it very exciting. Because you win not with the cards but with your skills. You need guts in poker, as in tennis,” Yevgeny commented on his poker passion.