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 in action against against Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals of the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
ANDREY RUBLEV: What’s up, guys?
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Back-to-back finals, last week in Marseille, now in Dubai. Yesterday you said you were tired. How are you feeling right now?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Feel completely tired, to be honest.
I don’t know, to be honest, before the tournament I told to my team, before we flew here, I already was quite tired after Marseille, I said, I don’t know how Tsitsipas, he wins two years in a row Marseilles and two years in a row final here. I don’t know how he did it. Have to be something incredible what he did. I couldn’t even imagine before that it was something that tough. This week I did the same and I still don’t know how, to be honest (laughter).
I don’t know, I was maybe a bit confidence from Marseille. Maybe also that some points during the match, especially important points, I was a bit more lucky, stuff like that. I don’t know.
In the end all together, like a puzzle, comes together.
Q. You say you’re tired, you weren’t sure you were going to make it this far. You played long matches. Are you using this as momentum to make yourself comfortable? Daniil Medvedev is now world No. 1, just some words on that.
ANDREY RUBLEV: What was the first question?
Q. Are you using these long matches basically as momentum?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, I wish to play shorter. I don’t know, today during the match I was thinking — I mean, yesterday I think I was losing 5-0 in less than 15 minutes or something like that. Maybe 15 minutes was 5-0 already. I was telling to myself, No way, it’s only 15 minutes and one set down. Please at least try to make it one hour. Even in case you lose, try to play more than one hour. Like in 30 or 40 minutes, it will be completely, like, embarrassing for me.
Today I was thinking the same. I lost the first set 6-3 in 20-something minutes. It was so fast. He broke me. Till the end of the set he was serving aces. I was telling to myself the same, Try second set to at least go to the tiebreak, at least it will look better the score and the time. I was just saying, Okay, keep fighting no matter what.
In the end, yeah, happen. If you ask me, of course I prefer to play in two sets. It help me also a lot that the sun go down. Little much easier where there is no heat.
The second question, I mean, basically with all that happened to Novak since the beginning of the year, it was just a question of time. Obviously Australia points disappeared, then many tournaments that he won also disappeared. Maybe even it will be not this week but then Indian Wells or Miami week. He won everything. The points are disappearing now if he’s not playing.
It was just a question of time. That’s it in this case.
I can say only good job to him because he did something that, I don’t know, when was last time, 2004? He achieved something. For him, for sure, is historic moment.
I told him many times the tings that he’s doing, it’s unbelievable. I think he inspired a lot of people, myself as well, because the things sometimes he do on court, game-wise, let’s talk about the game, it’s incredible.
The way he play, the way he think, the way he wins some rallies is impossible to win. It’s very impressive. I mean, there is so many things to learn from him in the game-wise.
Q. Obviously don’t want to stretch you too much about thinking ahead for tomorrow, but now that there’s no Novak here, with the two potential finalists, any thoughts?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I don’t know how Vesely is playing because we never play each other. Even if we practice once, it was long, long time ago. So I don’t really know what to expect. But I saw yesterday match. He was playing really, really great against Novak.
Against Shapo, we play so many times. All of them super tough matches, three sets or two tough sets. I mean, for me it’s tough to play against him because have no rhythm, he go for the shot, and sometimes if you have a good day it’s really tough to beat him because he play two, three shots from every position, he go for the winner.
Hopefully, I don’t know, both of them will have bad day tomorrow, I don’t know (laughter).
Q. Have you and Medvedev spoken about being No. 1? You are such good friends.
ANDREY RUBLEV: No, we do great friends with Daniil, especially after everything that bring us together: ATP Cup, some moments in Olympic Games, Davis Cup. Yeah, we share so many, in the past one-and-a-half years, moments together. But this week we didn’t spoke to each other, first of all because I flew straight from Marseille.
Q. I didn’t mean this week. I mean growing up in the juniors, did you think of being No. 1?
ANDREY RUBLEV: If he will be No. 1?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Of course, when I was a kid I wasn’t thinking about it. I was thinking of myself that I want to turn pro, to be also at the top level. So I was thinking about myself. When you’re 13, you don’t think if he will be No. 1 or not.
I can say about Daniil, first time I met him when I was six years old, was not even official tournament, just local maybe our coaches or something, they did like a day tournament, something like that, for the players, for the kids. We were six years old.
I think that time we were playing up to four games. The third set was a tiebreak till 7. I think we were playing, like, three hours this match because we were playing lobs. One rally was 10 minutes maybe. You can see that both of us had a spirit, doesn’t matter how, but don’t give up, the tears. One extra ball doesn’t matter if it’s lob or if it’s too slow.
Since he was a kid he was always fighting. In the beginning I think when he was kid he didn’t had that good technique. He had weird shots. Basically now as well (smiling). When he was a kid it was even worse.
He didn’t have the huge strokes or something, but he had this amazing thing that he’s showing now, that he was fighting no matter what the end. This is since he was a kid. It was not that he changed something, he was like this since I know him.
This is the main thing why it bring him to the top level, why he win and he achieve so many great tournaments. Now he’s No. 1.
Q. Kind of what Daniil said after he won the Australian Open [sic], the kid in him. It’s also about you on tour. One of the comments that he made in that long statement was about not very many Russian media on tour. In your years as a professional, how often do you see Russian media traveling the tour which gives you ability to do interviews in your own language?
ANDREY RUBLEV: To be honest, I think not many. I think this is not because didn’t want. I think it’s just because the system, we don’t have a really good system for this. I know that in the past some of them were traveling before pandemic, but I don’t know if they were going there by themself or they were paying for them or something.
I don’t think that we have in general in Russia good system to, let’s say, show to PR sports, compare to countries like America or in Europe, many countries that have good promotion. We don’t really have a good in Russia promotion for the sports. This is something not only with tennis, but generally in sport.
If you can see, the main sport in Russia is football. Still there’s so many matches, if it’s not the main one, not many spectators on the stadium. They don’t do that good show like they’re doing in America with every game. Like in Spain if you go to football or tennis, every match is completely full. This is nice. In Russia is a bit different.
Now, because of Daniil, because of obviously Karen and hopefully me as well, now the tennis is growing and is growing. I can feel it, like I said before. More and more people recognize me, more and more people start to follow tennis. Every year more and more I can see more spectators.
We’re missing this promotion. It’s not because of journalists. I think they would like and would love to help and to work. It’s just something that these details I don’t know, but something that should be a system like in many other countries.
Q. Can you give us your secret to how you reset? Do you talk to yourself after a game that you need to refocus or…
ANDREY RUBLEV: No. Whatever happen is happen. After the first win I said whatever happen this week is already bonus. Like I said, I’m tired and I don’t really have much energy, so try not to spend extra. If you can save a bit of energy, try to do it. On court just to try to fight till the end. Even if you don’t have energy, just do your best and that’s it, yeah.
Q. What have you been doing during the day when your match is later? Are you sleeping in?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I try to sleep as much as I can. Then I do one warmup during the day. I go back to the room, having lunch, then maybe sleep a bit, then go already for the match.
All these days, because I was finishing so late, I think it’s good that I was having, like, most of the time dinner by myself. It was a bit relax here in the hotel, not going somewhere in the city, which will take some energy from me.
I think in the end that’s also what help me.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
117199-1-1004 2022-02-25 16:06:00 GMT