Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
ANDREY RUBLEV: What’s up, guys?
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Short time since the last time you played till now. What were the adjustments you have to make?
ANDREY RUBLEV: There was no adjustments. I was so afraid that I’m going to lose quite easy because I remember last year, after Rotterdam, I flew straight to Doha. I had there couple of days, maybe like one or two days only. I was super lucky the first match was walkover.
Still match in semifinal against Robert, I couldn’t play, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t put one ball, I couldn’t do anything. I was there maybe three, four days already. I was thinking here would be no chance, especially against Denny who is super smart player, super good.
Last year it’s tough conditions, tough to play. All the years that I play here, it took me, like, maybe five, six days to adapt because the ball fly here a lot and it’s tough to control.
Now I’m coming here from indoor. I arrive at 2 a.m. to the hotel. I was playing the same day. I was thinking I have no chance. Now, I don’t know, I win the match. I’m super happy because I didn’t expect this. I don’t know, I’m just happy.
Q. When you arrive at 2 in the morning, have a match the same day, what do you tell yourself? I saw you chilling in the lobby before the match, you looked fine. I’m wondering how.
ANDREY RUBLEV: Well, what I had to do? I don’t know. I was really afraid I have no chance to win. I wanted to don’t think about it because it’s like the feeling he just won a title and already he lose the first round. It’s like he don’t want to be in this mood.
I did a really long, really long, long warmup today. I think during the day I practice like one hour and a half which is not usual, which is like normal practice, just to try to adapt as much as I can.
Then I said, Okay, I’m going to go there, I will put the ball no matter how. Even if I need to play five kilometers per hour, just push the ball inside, I will try to run to bring all the balls.
I didn’t start really fast, but in the end I think somehow the match was quite good. Was good rallies, many good points. In the end I win the match and now I’m really happy.
Q. There were a lot of breaks in the match. You did the hard work to get somewhere, then Danny takes you back, vice versa. How do you motivate yourself for the next game?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Nothing. Just keep playing, keep fighting because, like I said, it’s my first day so I don’t really feel the ball. If I start to complain, if I start to behave bad, it’s going to be only worst.
The only chance to win today was to behave really well and to try to bring all the balls inside the court, no matter how, if it’s frame or, like I said, five kilometers per hour, but to bring all the balls back, to be positive, to keep pushing yourself to fight. That was the only key.
I think I did it more or less well and that’s why in the end I win the match.
Q. When you say the key was to behave really well, do you mean stay focused? Do you mean emotional discipline?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Yeah, like emotional discipline, to don’t show negative things, to don’t complain, to don’t say bad things. If let’s say I get broken, inside I want to destroy everything. I know if I’m going to start to do this, I will play even worst because I’m not feeling the ball well and I cannot let it happen.
I need to stay, like I say, focused, I don’t know, for feel the ball. Maybe this game I’m going to do four mistakes. Next game suddenly I’m going to make it. In the end that’s what happen. You see match point, I was missing match point, missing match point. Suddenly I make a passing out of nowhere. That’s the thing.
I think if I would start to complain after all these match points, I will not make this passing shot.
Q. What stands out to you the most about Felix and his game at the moment, and the progress he’s made in the last six, seven months?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Obviously his serve. Is really tough to broke him. I play him many times and I know it’s not easy to break him.
Then, in my opinion, he’s one of the professional athletes on tour on-side the court and outside the court. The way he do the things on the court, outside the court, it’s super professional. Yeah, I think one of the most three top three, top four.
He always fighting. I think he have a really good thing that he control emotions really well because some matches at him, maybe he can do many, many mistakes, and he’s still like keep focusing, keep fighting. Somehow in the end he end up winning the matches or maybe losing but in the end he did his best.
Q. Last year when you came to Dubai, we were talking about your match winning streak. You won multiple ATP titles at that time. Novak is in this competition. Do you think that’s a pressure you put on yourself, you set targets?
ANDREY RUBLEV: You think I put target after I won just title? As I said, I was thinking I have no chance to win today. I’m super happy that I won my first match. Just we’ll see what’s going to happen.
It’s really present to me that I win my first round because I didn’t expect this. Everything that going to happen tomorrow is going to be already bonus, so we’ll see.
Q. A couple of words about Novak. He’s again on the court.
ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, of course it’s great to see Novak back because we need him. These three players, Roger, Novak and Rafa, they are the ones who change tennis. Because of them three, tennis I think at the top moment of all history. In general in the world, I think it’s at his best moment.
More and more people following tennis, more and more people, because of the matches and battles, all this history moments with the Grand Slams. In the end people start to follow more and more and more tennis because of these three players.
I think tennis is in the most famous moment of history because of them in general. Even now I can see in Russia much more people follow tennis, much more recognize me. This is something that normally wasn’t happen in the past.
Yeah, so we really need these players because in the end, because of them, they change the sport. Also because of them we win so much. I’m like a player, I think I win a lot because of them. They bring spectators. Spectators start to also look at me, follow me. In the end maybe some of them, they like me, they also start to follow me. Maybe some of them, they like other players. In the end because of them they did a huge change.
Q. Do you think the new wave just came or is it mixed?
ANDREY RUBLEV: You mean when they finish?
Q. Right now, I talk about this moment.
ANDREY RUBLEV: I think now, of course, because of Roger, Rafa, Novak, because of those players, also I think a lot of spectators, they start to look at us. It’s like a new generation.
But it cames from them in the beginning. They were following them all the career. They were following the finals of Grand Slams because also was Rafa-Novak, Roger-Rafa or Roger-Novak. They have 20 Grand Slams each. They want to see how is going to end. Even for me it’s interesting.
So of course they bring more and more spectators. Then spectators start to follow, to be more in tennis. They start to look at the new generation. Like I said, they like already personally this guy from next generation, they start to follow him, look at his matches. But it’s because of them.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
117166-1-1004 2022-02-22 17:15:00 GMT