GENERICO.ruSportMiami, a million from Khristenko and patriotism: an interview with a golf star from Russia

Miami, a million from Khristenko and patriotism: an interview with a golf star from Russia

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A real world golf star has appeared in Russia. 20-year-old Natalia Guseva is the first Russian woman to become a full member of the Women's Professional Golf Association (LPGA). In an interview with Sport, the athlete spoke about the pain in her heart due to the inability to play under her native flag, life in Miami and her great desire to bring Olympic gold 2024 to Russia.

Here I am the only warrior in the field
– In 2021 you entered the University of Miami. Do you live there now?

– Yes, I am finishing my online studies at the Faculty of Sports Management and Administration, because I have already become a professional and cannot fully attend classes. I was considered by a lot of universities, I even had one foot in Stanford, but I became such a strong friend with my coach, who literally became my mentor, leading me along my professional path, that I entered there. Now I live in Florida – a little north of Miami.

– How did you feel the competition in the USA?

– Probably as soon as I arrived, plus there were difficulties with the language, but I prepared with the teachers. I just felt that there are a lot more girls there who also want to be number one, so you realize that you just need to work differently. This is daily training, you just forget about everything. Some people think that she lives in Miami… But apart from the fields and the university, I didn’t see anything at all. You devote 24 hours a day to this work.

– Is there a large army of fans in America?

– Very. There are 26 million golfers in the country, there are also a lot of them in Europe, in Sweden there are generally 600 courses, so these numbers are growing very quickly there. I hope that with my arrival in the LPGA there will also be a large army of golfers and fans in Russia.

– Why you chose golf – an absolutely unpopular sport in Russia?

– Probably because of my family. I was engaged in dancing, but once in the Czech Republic my aunt and uncle invited me to play, then a new Moscow Olympic Reserve Golf School opened, where I just started practicing, and after that I could no longer let go of the club and realized that I was created for this type of sport. He is so elegant. At the age of 10 I completely became interested in golf, and at 11 I was already in the Russian national team.

– Why is golf interesting?

– Golf is an unrealistic psychological preparation. You just feel like one warrior in the field. This is even a state of some kind of zen and meditation. It seems to me that in Russia the stereotype is that golf is a summer sport, supposedly it is very new, and there are very few places available for it. But every year the popularity is growing. Everything is free at the Moscow school.

– You are the first Russian woman who managed to get into the LPGA. What do you feel?

– Probably, pride is not for yourself, but more for the country.

– Why do you think no one has come before you? could have done this?

– Complex issue. I'm just a very hardworking person, and if I have a goal, then there are no barriers. I spent my whole life playing golf to get better and better. I just forget about everything, although I miss my family and friends very much.

– How did the Russian Golf Association congratulate you?

– Viktor Borisovich (Khristenko, former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, President of the AGR) gave me a million rubles – this is also a very big help. The Moscow region also helped this year, thank them very much for this.

– Have you always set a goal to perform at the highest level?

– Yes, 100%. I always had a dream to be number one in the world. Now this is no longer a dream, but a goal.

– Is it real?

– I think it is real. I will do everything to become the best.

I was immediately assigned security
– You, as a Russian athlete, have faced aggression abroad?

– Of course, there were situations. I play under a neutral flag and without an anthem. I am very grateful to the organizers of the Tour for their adequacy and assistance. There was a case when I was assigned security after threats against me from outside. But, to a greater extent, you are treated as an athlete, and not as an enemy.

– Were there any egregious cases?

– There are some comments, but you just try to ignore them. In this regard, it was very difficult mentally. I just had to, so to speak, disconnect from everything, including social media, in order to be myself. But we, the Russian people, are very strong and will get through everything.

– Are you planning to compete at the 2024 Olympics?

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– I will do my best to participate. Of course, it is still upsetting that we will have to play under a neutral flag and there will be no anthem. There is a pain in the heart.

– What does the Olympics mean to you – the most important tournament in life or not?

– The peak for me, as in tennis, is to win a major, which is much more important than the Olympics. But the Olympic Games are very important for my country, so they will always be in my heart. I want to win a gold medal. I know that I can win any tournament I come to. Golf is such a game that it is unclear how it will turn out. This is a very mental sport, and you simply cannot predict the course of your game, so I prepare very carefully psychologically.

– There is a lot of controversy about the performance of the Russians at the Olympics in a neutral status: someone says that we need to go, others have a different point of view. What is your position?

– 50/50, because it is very difficult to compete under a neutral flag, they constantly point fingers at you. But I have pride in my country, and I am always very patriotic in this regard. It will still be important for me to play at the Olympics, but I also need to take into account that it is difficult.

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