Washington, Jul 21 : The Russian tennis legend Yevgeny Kafelnikov told Sputnik on Saturday that he faced no difficulties when obtaining a US visa to attend the ceremony of being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the city of Newport, Rhode Island.
Earlier in the day, Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said that Kafelnikov would be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with two other great players - Li Na from China and Mary Pierce from France. The official ceremony, scheduled to be held later on Saturday, will crown the Hall of Fame Weekend in the city of Newport in Rhode Island.
"I filled out online form and received an invitation to an interview approximately in a month. All procedure at the embassy took one and half minutes," said Kafelnikov.
Another famous Russian tennis player, Svetlana Kuznetsova, have earlier complained about risking to miss the US swing tournaments because of severe delays in visa processing at the US Embassy in Russia.
When asked whether famous athletes and other celebrities should be getting visas on a fast-track basis, he noted that he did not “want to excel among other people.”
The United States has significantly extended processing time of visa applications for the Russian citizens after Moscow and Washington exchanged several rounds of expulsion of diplomats and subsequent cuts of consular staff last year. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 45, won 26 singles and 27 doubles titles throughout career.
In 1996 he became the first Russian who won one of the Grand Slam competition: he triumphed in French Open singles and got the title in the doubles with Czech's Daniel Vacek. He also was the singles champion at the 1999 Australian Open. He will become the second Russian member of the Hall of Fame after Marat Safin who inducted in 2016. He won the Olympic Gold medal in Sydney in 2000, and was a member of Russia's national team clinched Davis Cup in 2002. SPUTNIK