Player Features

Inside the mind of Andrey Rublev

World No. 5 discusses mindset during matches
February 13, 2024
Andrey Rublev is the second seed in Rotterdam.
ATP Tour
Andrey Rublev is the second seed in Rotterdam. By Sam Jacot

Andrey Rublev defeated Alex de Minaur in a five-set fourth-round epic on Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open in January. It was a topsy-turvy clash that brought a rollercoaster of emotions to both players, with Rublev recovering from losing second and third-set tie-breaks to eventually advance.

As has become the norm on Tour, the 26-year-old did not shy away from displaying his feelings when on court, prompting Jim Courier to ask the World No. 5 after the match what goes through his head when he competes.

Replying with a hint of a laugh, Rublev said: “It is like a scary movie.”

This week, Rublev competes at the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, where he is the second seed. Ahead of his opening match at the ATP 500 against Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs, Rublev opened up to about controlling his mind during crucial moments on court.

“It is tough to explain which thoughts you have,” Rublev said. “You just go crazy emotionally when you're burned out. I don't know. [It stresses] you when you cannot think, you start to think 10 times faster, but you're not thinking smart.

“It is like if I tell you, you have five seconds to open your camera and then you're stressing that much and you have hundreds of thoughts: What is it, what is it, how to open, how, and in the end, from this simple thing, you get stressed. So that's what sometimes is happening.”

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Humble and self-deprecating are words that could be used to describe Rublev, who has won 15 tour-level titles and spent 164 weeks inside the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Last November, he demonstrated his affable off-court demeanor when he spoke to about his run to the semi-finals at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals.

Asked ahead of the 2023 edition if he could repeat his 2022 performance, Rublev replied: “It's not going to happen often. Of course I will do everything to be able to feel this emotion again. But we'll see.”

In the past year, Rublev revealed that he has tried to control his emotions more. In 2023 the 26-year-old lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and climbed back to a joint career-high No. 5. He also earned five Top 10 wins, including two en route to the crown in Monaco and one in the final in Bastad.

Rublev feels recent success has helped build confidence.

“Now I'm feeling better on court. I feel that I'm putting my emotions more in the right way, in a better way, but of course there are still some disastrous moments when I let my emotions out,” Rublev said.

“Results build confidence of course and I'm playing with the right mindset. And for the matches that I was able to do it last year, I was playing really great tennis. I was in a good way. Happy with myself that I was able see the result. If only I put my mindset in the right way, it would be good. Straight away I can play, feeling good on court, so I was happy in a good way. The thing is now to try to do it more and more often, not only a few matches.”

Rublev will look to continue to build this week in Rotterdam. The 2021 champion, who holds a 12-4 record at the ATP 500 event, is chasing his second title of the season, having triumphed in Hong Kong.

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