Rublev: ‘He Was Just Better Than Me’
“He was just better than me,” said Rublev.
The World No. 8 entered his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final in peak form, having claimed three-set wins against ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal earlier in the week. Despite his best efforts, Rublev was simply unable to bring his best level to the court in the championship match as Tsitsipas dominated on serve and converted all three of his break points.
“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn't show the game [I have]. I couldn't show fight,” said Rublev. “I didn't win, but of course I'm happy with the week because I beat so many great players. I beat one of the best players in history. It's a special week.”
Rublev and Tsitsipas’ battle was their fourth meeting since the resumption of the ATP Tour last August (2-2). The pair has already contested seven ATP Head2Head battles (Tsitsipas leads 4-3) and they also met on multiple occasions at junior level.
With Rublev, 23, and Tsitsipas, 22, both still in the early stages of their careers, the Monte-Carlo finalists are well aware that this could be the start of an epic rivalry. The pair has already met in two ATP Tour finals, two Grand Slams, the Nitto ATP Finals and the Next Gen ATP Finals.
“He's the one from the top players that I [have been] playing the most,” said Rublev. “We played already [a] couple of finals, [and a] couple of important matches… I have more stories of matches [against] him compared [to] other players. I hope it's the beginning of something. I hope I will also be able to win some of them.”
Rublev will now turn his attention to the remainder of the European clay swing. After one event on the red dirt this season, he has already reached a significant milestone with his first Masters 1000 final appearance. The eight-time ATP Tour titlist will now turn his attention to next week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he compete as the third seed.
“It's my first tournament on clay and I already [reached a] final, my first final [at a] Masters 1000,” said Rublev. “It's a great beginning. I hope I can show great game every week.”