http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis ... hadow.html
Sergei Bubka Jnr aiming to vault out of father's shadow
The mere mention of Davis Love III, an American golfer, can sometimes be enough to make people smirk, as it sounds as though he comes from a family with pretensions of being third-rate royalty.
By Mark Hodgkinson
Last Updated: 7:45AM GMT 05 Mar 2009
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In the shadows: Sergei Bubka Jnr says his goal in tennis is 'to be famous for being me' Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Davis Love III's father, Davis Love Jnr, also made his living from his golf swing, and it will be interesting to see whether the next generation of Davis Loves, Davis Love IV, ends up earning a living on the fairways, too.
Frank Lampard Jnr is following in the studmarks of his father, Frank Lampard Snr. Clearly, there are some sportsmen who don't just have a name for themselves when they start their careers – they have two.
Unlike Davis Love III and Frank Lampard Jnr, Sergei Bubka Jnr is competing in a different sport to his father, but that has not always made the name game and the fame game any easier for the young tennis player, who is due to represent Ukraine in the Davis Cup tie against Britain, starting in a Glasgow shopping centre on Friday.
His father, the pole-vaulting great Sergei Bubka Snr, is arguably the finest athlete of all time, someone who propelled himself more than six metres into the air, to an Olympic gold medal, a world record and international sporting stardom.
With his genes and those names, maybe a few observers supposed that 22 year-old Bubka Jnr would have won half a cabinet of Wimbledon trophies by now. As it is, Junior is ranked 269 in the world, and most of his tennis is played on the second-tier Challenger level; few who win a title on that circuit would celebrate by vaulting, leaping or taking a running jump over the net.
Bubka Jnr was never interested in vaulting; tennis was his thing, and he was only nine years old when he beat Bubka Snr for the first time – although from what his father was saying on Wednesday, it would seem that he tanked that match to encourage his son.
"When we played that match, I decided to lose," Bubka Snr said. "I think there is some pressure on him because of my name. I have advised him to remain himself."
There is no escaping the Bubka brand every time Jnr plays. "I sometimes find it a bit difficult when everyone is asking me whether I am going to be as great as my father," Bubka Jr said in fluent, eloquent English on his first trip to Scotland.
"By now, I am pretty used to the attention I get because of who my father is, as I have had that from a young age. But the attention is much more than other players get at my level, much more than what is 'ordinary'.
"I wish that there is going to come a time when I am recognised for something I have achieved, when I'm 'Sergei Bubka the tennis player' rather than 'Sergei Bubka, the son of the great athlete'. That is my goal in tennis, to be famous for being me."
If scientists wanted to create the perfect tennis genes they could not have done much more than to have asked Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf to breed and to then wait for the babies. For all-round sporting DNA, you do not get much better than Bubka Jnr's, as his mother was a gymnast.
From a young age, Bubka Jnr recognised that his father was "special". "If I had gone into vaulting, I would have had even more pressure, but even in tennis people expect a lot of me," said Jnr, who grew up in Monaco, and is now renting an apartment in Bratislava, Slovakia.
"I think I can go high up the rankings, as I have some good qualities. What I have to do is to put it all together, and to be more consistent. My results have been up and down. I think a lot of it is psychological. My serve is the best bit of my game and I am fast around the court," Bubka Jnr added.
"One of the things I learned from my father is how important it is to work hard. Whenever I am on the practice court, I put everything into my training."
The Bubkas speak regularly on the phone. Bubka Snr, the president of the Ukrainian Olympic authorities, is unable to travel to Glasgow, as he will instead be in Turin for the European Indoor Athletics Championships.
"Sergei's strengths are his serve, his return and his volley," Bubka Snr said. "I think that the family background in sport has had an influence on him. We tried to teach him that success will never come without hard work. I think he can move up the rankings. Everything depends on him. His success is in his hands."
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