Rublev's 'Fairy Tale' Moment: 'Finally I Did It'
Andrey Rublev is a fans’ favourite and has been a fixture inside the world’s Top 10 for more than two years. But it was Sunday on Court Rainier III when he stepped into the sun.
Rublev’s reaction said it all. After hitting an ace to close out his victory against Holger Rune in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final, the champion fell to the court and covered his face with his hands. He laid still on the red clay of the Monte-Carlo Country Club, where legends from Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl had triumphed. The fifth seed had not only joined them, but became an ATP Masters 1000 titlist for the first time.
“Finally I did it. I did it in Monaco with the really historic tournament. It's a pleasure to be part of it,” Rublev said. “To win [a] match like this, losing 4-1, Love-30, break point for 5-1, and to be able to come back and to win [the] match is like a fairy tale today.”
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
The 25-year-old’s emotions were unmistakable. After embracing Rune and shaking hands with chair umpire Aurelie Tourte, Rublev turned to the crowd to give his thanks. There were tears in his eyes.
After rallying in the third set, it felt like there could have been a twist or two left when Rublev stepped to the baseline to serve for the championship at 6-5 in the final set. It surprised Rublev when he quickly earned a 40/0 lead.
“Before my first match point, I was thinking how weird that it [was] 40-Love, first of all,” Rublev said. “And then I was thinking, ‘Just go for it. Don't think. Just go for it.’ That's it.”
Rublev converted his second championship point by delivering his fifth ace of the match and as he enjoyed the moment, the fans showered him with support.
The 13-time ATP Tour champion has quickly become a fans’ favourite, whether from wearing his heart on his sleeve or cracking the fans up with hilarious off-court moments.
“To have this support, it means that for sure I can be a better person and I can work on it and I can improve and to try to share it with others,” Rublev said. “To have this support, I feel really, really grateful, because, I don't know, it's not easy to get support in general. To get a good support is really tough.”
With the fans’ support behind him and plenty of success on his resumé — Rublev cracked the Top 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2021 and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals each year from 2020-22 — the 25-year-old was waiting for his biggest breakthrough yet.
While some would have been frustrated after losing two Masters 1000 finals as Rublev did in 2021 in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati, Rublev continued to put the work in. It was fitting he claimed his first title at the level on the same court where he lost his first final two years ago.
“I was thinking that if I do the things right outside the court, practising-wise, I will have chances to win the big titles,” Rublev said. “The thing is I didn't know when it's going to happen, this year, last year, two years ago, because I played two finals before. I played [a] couple of times semi-finals, and I couldn't make it. In the end, [it] happened here.
"I didn't really expect that I'm going to win the title before [this] week, but then match by match I started to win, and then somehow I ended up winning.”