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Yevgeny Kafelnikov's Biography

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Yevgeny Kafelnikov was born on 18 February 1974 in Sochi, Russia.

Kafelnikov became a tennis pro in 1992 and amassed $23,883,797 of prize money. His proudest achievement in tennis is that he won 26 singles titles.

After a relatively lacklustre 2003 where Russia's first world number 1 in tennis failed to win an ATP singles title for first time in 10 years and finished with his lowest ATP Ranking over the same period, it now appears that Kafelnikov has effectively retired from tennis and taken up poker.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov was very popular in his country and not just for his tennis. After winning his fifth straight title in Moscow, Kafelnikov donated his first prize of $137,000 to the families of the victims in the October 4, 2001 Russian plane crash near his hometown of Sochi.

In an interview with The Independent about his move from tennis to poker Kafelnikov said:

"The most important thing was not to disappoint my fans. It is very hard to earn a good image in Russia. Once you do, you're a hero. But if you then do something wrong, you're treated like, like, I can't even think of a word to describe it. I dedicated myself to playing for Russia. I played all Davis Cup matches, I won Olympic gold, I still have a very good image.

"So when people on the street in Moscow ask why I stopped playing, I say 'because I don't want to see you people crying when I lose'. They understand that."

Kafelnikov hired fellow Russian, Kirill Gerasimov, professional poker's Rookie of the Year in 2002, to coach him.

On 13 October 2004 Kafelnikov won the Korona Russian Poker Championships, Moscow.

In 2005, Kafelnikov followed up with an excellent performance at the World Series of Poker very nearly making the Stud final table - Gerasimov managed to come second.

He took up golf for a while and then resumed poker. In the World Series of Poker Europe in 2017 he finished 45th and won $23,605 .

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