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ANDREY RUBLEV: “I TOLD MYSELF TO FIGHT FOR EVERY POINT!”

18.10.2020, 22:42 #News #Best

– Andrey, on the court after the match, you said that you were lucky during the tie-break when the score was 2-5, but was it just luck? Maybe there was some kind of confidence that you wouldn’t give up in this tie-break just like that?

– When the score was 5-2 in my opponent’s favor, I told myself to fight for every point. It didn’t matter how, but I had to hit the ball to the other half of the court. I was trailing him only by 3 points and it could still change. It was 5-2 and I served, meaning if I win 2 points on my serve, the score would be 5-4. If I would win one more point, then the score is tied. I tried to cheer myself up, I tried to tell myself that I needed to fight till the very end and in the end I was lucky with these three points, because he had the initiative and all the opportunities.

– So 5-2 in a tie-break is never hopeless?

– No, in a tie-break, nothing is hopeless at all. I have both lost and won with incredible scores in a tie-break, so you never know what will happen in a tie-break.

–  If my memory tells me right, you won the fifth final in a row. It turns out that you now know the recipe how to play in the finals, how to tune in to them?

– It just so  happened. I don’t think I was doing anything extraordinary today or that I learned the secret of playing in the finals. I just played and tried. The home tournament and the home crowd definitely helped me a lot. Today everything was in my favor.

– Andrey, your second coach is with you in St. Petersburg, could you tell what his name is? Do we understand correctly that he works in tandem with Fernando Vicente?

–  Fernando Vicente is my main coach. He cannot travel with me to tournaments all year round, because he has a family: a wife and a child. He misses some weeks and then, in these 6-7 weeks of the year, he is replaced by my second coach – Abraham Gonzalez-Jimenez.

– Tell us, please, what does it mean for you to become World No. 8 next week?

– I’m really happy about it. Every position in the ranking means a lot now. The most important thing for me is to keep working. I still have a lot of elements that I need to improve. I want to believe that I will have the opportunity to become better for the next season.

– Andrey, you started your victories by winning ATP250 tournament, now in a few weeks you have won two ATP500 tournaments. What’s next in your career? Masters series or Grand Slam?

– I do not know what to answer. Hope I will continue to work and improve. I don’t want to think about anything. I just want to do my job to the maximum and give my best during practicing. Let’s see how everything goes.

– How much do titles like the title in St. Petersburg raise your motivation? Do they show that you are on the right track? How important are they?

– I would say that this particular tournament is the most important and most emotional in my entire career, because unfortunately, after the match with Tsitsipas (in Paris), I learned that my grandmother passed away. I love her most of all. The following day I had a flight to Moscow. On Friday there was the funeral and immediately after the funerals I went to St. Petersburg. Winning the tournament now is probably the most special and most emotional thing I have done in my life so far.

– Andrey, you said that you didn’t show anything special on the court today. Maybe this is an indicator that you are now at such a level that you can beat players just thanks to sheer class without showing much?

– I would like it to be true. Because top players like Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray can play their worst tennis and still win titles or stay long in the tournament. It is very cool. This shows that they are real champions, that they are real top players. I want to strive for this. I want to strive for the fact that even playing not really well and feeling that nothing is working out, I still can find a way to win the match.

– You have your birthday on October 20. You were doing well this season. What present will you give yourself on this day? 

– To be honest I have no plans. I can’t say I want to celebrate it. I am very low key about this date.  I don’t really care about my birthday. I am not planning to celebrate it. There will be a couple of photoshoots on this day, maybe I will have dinner with my parents.  I don’t know I wasn’t planning.

– Is the information about your withdrawal from the tournament in Antwerp correct? 

– Yes. I won’t go there. I will spend several days in Moscow and after that I will go to Wien, Paris and Sofia.

– What difficulties did you feel when Borna Coric was serving? It seemed he was varying it quite well…

 I’d say Borna has a good serve in general. He varies it well and serves powerfully. He serves with the speed 200-210 km/h and serves flat. Plus, he is playing close to the lines and it is very difficult to return.  Perhaps, today I didn’t return so well as in the previous matches.  Anyway, this does not diminish the role of the fact that he was serving well and strong. It is very difficult to return when you are playing such types of players, and it doesn’t matter how you feel the ball. All in all, I am glad I could use my only chance in the second set to make a break.

– What was the toughest match on the tournament for you?

– The match against Hugo Humbert, and against Denis Shapovalov, too, and today (in the finals against Borna Coric) was difficult too. Especially when you are 2-5 down in the tie break and you understand you can lose the set. These types of thoughts were crossing my mind so I didn’t want to think of it and I was fighting to the end to win the opening set. But it was tougher to play againsrt Shapovalov because I felt he could beat me in two sets as I lost the first one and he had couple of break-points in the second one. I understood the match could be finished in 1 minute and I felt I was at the edge. I am happy I managed to win yesterday and today.

– How important is it for you to qualify for the ATP Finals in London and have a chance to play with such players as Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev?

– I know I have chance to get into the ATP Finals but it is not 100% yet. I can’t say I was thinking about it a lot, I didn’t think I would have chances this season. Nothing will change for me if I won’t get there. Anyway, it will be a good season for me. And if I make it to the Top8, it will be also good to me to have a one more chance to play with the strongest tennis players. At the end it will be a good experience.

– What can you say about the 13th victory of Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros, I knew he is an inspirational person for you. What can you say about his victory that let him even the Slams’ victories with Roger? 

– I can’t imagine not only how it is possible to win so many Slams but also how it is possible to achieve what he has done and how it is possible to be as mentally strong during the whole career. Even Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have bad days through their career but Rafa is the only one who no matter how he is feeling himself emotionally he always finds the way to win. And even if he loses, he is fighting in three-five set for many hours. All the athletes have bad days, but in team sports your partners help you, so the team can win at the end if all the other players are good enough.  It is very difficult to compete in any match no matter what is going on in your off-court life. He is not just the best tennis player he is the best athlete ever!

– How are you gonna treat yourself after this victory at St. Petersburg Open? 

– With Coca-Cola.

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