Lukasz Kubot made Polish history in 2018 when he became the first Polish man to reach World No. 1 in any discipline, doing so in the ATP Doubles Rankings. Kubot, who received the Gold Cross of Merit from Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in July 2013, has long paved the way for his country, and he will try to do so again in January at the inaugural ATP Cup.
Before Kubot leads Poland in Group E, to be contested in Sydney, he speaks to ATPTour.com about which players from his country he looked up to, what he loves about Poland and more.
Which Polish players did you watch when you were growing up?
Well, of course, the inspiration was Wojtek Fibak, who is our famous former Top 10 singles player and Top 10 doubles player. The best moments of his career were in the late ‘80s, so he was an inspiration. We have contact today, so I learned a lot from him.
Besides this, there were a lot like Bartlomiej Dabrowski, who has the best record in Davis Cup ties, and also Krystian Pfeiffer. [These were] players I was always looking at and learning a lot from and I also had the opportunity to practise with them when I was younger.
If you could pick one stroke from any of your ATP Cup teammates and add it to your game, what stroke would you take?
I would take the serve of Hubert Hurkacz. Besides that, maybe also his backhand and the fighting and footwork of Kamil Majchrzak.
What are three things you love about Poland?
Everything. I think about the Polish food. The kitchen is very special and very heavy, I have to say. It is always great. Our Pope, John Paul II, was always making all the people together. It was very important for our country. Maybe the people as well, communication and supporting together.
Which three native Australian animals come to mind first?
First, of course, [is the] kangaroo, then the koala. What else? Is kiwi New Zealand? I just have these two.
What do you like most about Australia?
I like the weather, always. When you come back from Europe, down under there is always guaranteed weather. I have a lot of friends there, especially from Sydney where we stay and visit my friends. We stay together as a kind of Polish community. This is a very special thing.
Of course, visiting the cities like Sydney, the opera is always nice to come back there. Especially spending the New Year’s there is great, there are always positive vibes.
What team sports did you play as kid and can you talk about the happy memories of playing on a team?
I was playing a lot of football or soccer and a little bit of basketball. Soccer was very popular; we actually played in our neighbourhood with all the young boys growing up. We were spending most of our time on the tennis court, the basketball court or the soccer field.
What are your earliest memories of playing tennis in Poland?
I started like most of the players, hitting [against] the wall, just to hit and to feel. There was not much happening in the small city where I grew up. We had a coach with a group of players and we started to hit the balls. I was hitting [against] the wall for a long time… I remember a lot of kids with one or two courts, hitting the balls over the net with one or two coaches.
What will be the most fun part about playing ATP Cup?
Playing for the country. For sure, there is going to be a team atmosphere, sharing lockers and supporting your country is always very nice. For sure, we are guaranteed three matches and it is going to be a very good preparation for the Australian Open, which is great.