Rubin Building On Federer Experience
American into semi-finals at Launceston Challenger
Noah Rubin is building on his unforgettable experience playing Roger Federer last month at the Australian Open with a solid run at this week’s $75,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Launceston, Australia.
The 20-year-old #NextGenATP player, seeded seventh in Launceston, defeated fourth seed and local favourite Andrew Whittington on Friday to reach the semi-finals. The American credited the hard work he put in during this past off-season in Boca Raton, Florida, with helping him outlast his opponents in tough matches this year.
“We were putting in a lot of hours on the court, more than I was used to,” said Rubin. “We mainly worked on getting in better shape and just hitting a lot of balls to get my forehand to a place where it’s more of a weapon.”
Those long hours were well-rewarded last month in Melbourne, where Rubin came through qualifying and won his first-round match in five sets to earn the right to face Federer. Competing in front of a packed house on Rod Laver Arena, he showed no signs of being overwhelmed and pushed the 18-time Grand Slam champion to a competitive three-set match.
“It was pretty cool. I love stages like that and it’s one of the main reasons why I play tennis,” said Rubin. “To be in front of 16,000 people playing against probably the greatest player of time was a great feeling. I definitely had my chances to win, but it was just fun to be out there.”
Although his ultimate goal is to be a regular fixture on the world’s biggest stages, Rubin is turning his attention to Challengers for now as he looks to build his Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 196. With minimal points to defend from May to September due to struggling last season with an ankle injury, he’s confident that he has the game to break into the world’s Top 100.
Rubin is also hopeful that he can qualify for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan this November and said the tournament provides even more motivation to produce a solid season.
“It’s definitely an extra incentive because this isn’t some weak event,” he said. “Most, if not all of the players who make it there are going to be in the Top 100. It’s going to be a tough tournament and it’s really exciting to think about.”