First Time Winner Spotlight: Andrey Rublev
Russian wins maiden ATP crown in Umag
Andrey Rublev captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Paolo Lorenzi in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. The Russian is the fourth #NextGenATP player to win an ATP World Tour title, joining Alexander Zverev, Karen Khachanov and Borna Coric. The 19 year old is now up to third in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan and cracked the Top 50 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Afterwards, Rublev spoke to ATPWorldTour.com:
How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour singles trophy at the age of 19?
Of course, it’s amazing. I have no words to explain it. Especially after this tough week and all the feelings that I have been going through. Now, I’m here and it’s amazing. But now, it’s already passed and in two days I have a new match and I have to be ready 100 per cent.
Was this a goal of yours as a junior, to win an ATP title? How did you envision this?
Of course when I was a kid, I wanted to win Grand Slams, ATP tournaments, all the tournaments that I was watching on the TV. I was watching, and I was dreaming that one day I’m going to also win these tournaments; I’m going to play all these matches. And now I’ve won my first ATP title and it’s amazing. Now it’s time to work, and to try to do it again.
What was your approach going into your first final, how did you prepare for your match?
This week I was trying to do everything the same, always sitting in the car in the front, I didn’t let anybody sit in the front, only me. My coach was wearing the same t-shirt, my t-shirt, for the past three days. During the day, I would always go back to my hotel room. So yeah, all these little things I was trying to do the same. The last three days were really tough mentally. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t talk normally. There was so much stress, it was really tough. I’m really happy that it’s over and I won the tournament.
You replaced Borna in the draw as a lucky loser, are you going to call him or text him?
I already said to him many times “thank you”, but it’s also tough because in one way I’m really happy that I’m in the draw, but in another way I really feel bad for him because he’s a great player and he also had a really good chance to win this tournament. He had that injury, and I really feel sad for him because I know how sometimes it’s tough to make these decisions. I just really hope that he can come back as soon as possible, and to win another tournament.
Talk about your 2017 season and the success you’re having.
I don’t really think about these things. I’m just trying to do my job, trying to give my best every day. Trying to be more stable, trying to improve the things that I need to work on. These are the things I’m most focused on. I’m not trying to think about if I am having a good season or a bad season, because as you can see with this week for example: I lost in the qualies, which should have been bad for me. And now I’ve won this tournament and everything is perfect. It’s not really good to think about if it’s a good season or a bad season, because everything can change so fast. You can win one day, and lose the next day. You can lose and you can win. The main thing for me is to do my best every day.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
I have no goals. I just want to do my best, to improve on the things I need to improve on, and that’s it. We’ll see what happens.
What do you feel like you have improved on this season?
Firstly we were really working hard on my physique, to allow me to play much longer at the same level and at the same intensity. I think I’ve improved a little physically, and now I can play a little bit longer. But still there is a long way to go. Before, I used to play without sense and just hit the ball. Now I’ve started to understand, more or less where you have to play, where are the better positions. Those things are really important in tennis.
Talk about the success of the NextGenATP Russians this season.
It’s something amazing. I’ve known Medvedev since we were maybe six or seven years old, Karen maybe since I was eight or nine years old. We were always playing the same tournaments and on the same team. They were a little bit older than me, in the juniors in Russia they were always a little higher ranked than me, and I always was the third one on the team. So we were always together, and it’s amazing. And now all three of us are in the Top 50 and we’ll see how things will turn out.
Who are the players you looked up to and admired growing up?
There were three players that I really liked. I really like Federer of course, everybody likes him. When I was a kid I was a big fan of Safin. And then I saw Rafa [Nadal] play for the first time, I started to copy him. I was buying the same clothes. I was 11 and my t-shirt was double my size! I was wearing the sleeveless t-shirts and the long pants and I had the whole collection of his clothes.
Who has helped you throughout your career and helped you to get where you are today?
Of course my family, they always were the ones supporting me, giving everything they have to me. I was like the special one. And of course now the team that I have in Barcelona, they are working really hard with me there. They are doing more than their best, always pushing me. Fernando [Vicente] and Galo [Blanco] are like opposites: Galo is like the bad cop and Fernando is the good cop. With Fernando it’s always easier to find a deal, with Galo it is not!