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 (smiling)?
THE MODERATOR: As you can see, a very long match. So keep it…
ANDREY RUBLEV: …as long as possible (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Andrey, how?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I don’t know. This has already happened third match this season. I have no words. These matches, when it’s over, and somehow you win them, it’s always special. I don’t know. I have no words to describe.
One time maybe you feel lucky, you feel – how you say – super tight and emotions because you almost lose, and somehow you win it. When it’s happen third time, you think now there is no chance, is impossible, now it’s over for sure.
I don’t even have any emotions now because in my head, the match was done. Like I said, when it never happens, sometimes you hope, like, maybe I will be lucky today and I will make it.
When you’re three times lucky, almost last three tournaments – Australian Open, Doha and Dubai – three tournaments in a row, it’s like, How many more I have there Christmas presents?
Q. You had a couple of slow starts. Why do you think that’s happening?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I don’t know, to be honest. I want to know also because I’m tired of this, that I’m losing my serve straightaway.
I guess today was a bit tougher in my case because first match I played 7 p.m. It’s completely different conditions. It’s much slower, everything different. Now today we start at 2.
I think Alejandro, he played last match during the day so he was more or less in those conditions. As soon as he start, everything was double faster. You touch the ball, the ball fly. I start to be even more tight because I don’t know what to do. Then with the time I start to feel better and better.
Yeah, then I was lucky.
Q. You hit yourself with the racquet and it looks like it’s really bad on your knee.
ANDREY RUBLEV: No, everything okay. It’s just – how you say – it was before there was a scratch and I just open it (smiling).
But no, no. If it will be hurting, I will not be able to play. It’s simple.
Q. Regarding the ball, are you struggling to adjust to it? Is that the reason? Is it more difficult for a hard-hitter like you?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, here is completely different conditions in Dubai. I don’t know if it’s because of the balls or the courts or it’s because of the desert or air.
Yeah, let’s say last week, Doha, and this week, completely different conditions. In my opinion, here is much tougher to play, much tougher to control the ball. I have no idea why because it’s only one hour or even less fly. The weather more or less the same. The balls were the same also I think there.
But I don’t know, to be honest. It’s not easy to play here, it’s true. Like I said, when you play during the day, then at night, even completely different conditions.
Q. You have a couple of changes this season. You have your management, and also this is your own line.
ANDREY RUBLEV: Yes.
Q. Can you talk about that side of things. When you make these changes in your career, are they easy decisions? Does it affect your tennis?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I would say with the decisions, it just happen by themself [sic]. I didn’t expect, I didn’t plan something. It just happened, like, one by one. Maybe the only thing I was thinking is management. The rest happened one by one. The second coach, Abraham, left. Then we finish with the physio. Then the clothes. In one moment everything together, in one moment one by one, maybe three, four days difference.
Of course, I think it’s affecting because any change is affecting. Even when it’s in a good way or something, I think it’s affecting. That’s why it takes a bit time.
The good thing now is I feel that the work, especially on the practices, is going the best way possible ever. Outside the court, inside the court, I feel that now I’m moving in a really, really good and right direction.
The thing is it will take time to adapt and get used to each other, then to be able to transfer this on the court.
But tennis-wise and fitness-wise, I feel, especially in practices, I’m playing much, much, much better than compare myself last year.
Q. Now you have Fernando Vicente?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I have Fernando Vicente as the main coach. Second coach is Berto Martin. The new fitness coach, I don’t know his last name, but his name it (Marcus/Marcos?). With the physio, the same story. I don’t know his last name, but his first name is Charlie.
A good player from my team. I don’t even know the names of my team members (laughter).
Q. You were very quiet until the second set tiebreaker. You’re usually very emotional.
ANDREY RUBLEV: All my emotions, I don’t know, I was keeping them inside because the match was super tight. We were going like this all the second set. I was feeling that maybe if I scream something or if I say something, then I lose two or three next points, the match will be done.
In the end, doesn’t matter. Even I was doing some good rallies or something, I was not even saying c’mon until the last moment when I win the second set. Then I scream, because at least I know we have five hours’ break now. You can still scream and you’re not going to lose straightaway three points. It’s like where we start from the beginning.
In the end, basically all emotions were inside. I was losing 6-1, then coming back, coming back, then I won the second set, and it went out.
Q. How do you see your chances here to get the title again?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I don’t know. I know I almost lost today basically. I don’t know. I just want to play match by match. With the beginning like I did today, we cannot talk about title (smiling).
So we’ll see. I don’t know my opponent. They played already or no?
Q. Botic won in three.
ANDREY RUBLEV: So I play Botic. Last time he beat me in two sets easy. So title… Wait. At least there is one more match that is going to be really tough for me.
Q. Do you work with a sports psychologist at all?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Now the second coach, Berto, I don’t want to be wrong, I don’t want to say a lie, but when he finished career, he was study for the sport psychologist for more than 10 years. He has diploma, I don’t know, stamp in the passport.
Q. Does he help you with that side more?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Yeah, we talk sometimes. He’s trying. I’m not easy guy.
Q. You’re not a fan of that?
ANDREY RUBLEV: No, with him I’m super fan because, first of all, he was on the best level, he was competing against top players: Agassi, Sampras, Bruguera. He was top 30 in the world.
When those kind of guys, they’re saying things about tennis, about emotions, of course first of all we speak the same more or less language straightaway. We understand better each other. He understand me much better.
In the end, of course in this way I like this so much because he knows how to approach in a good way to make you talk or something. So in the end is much better this way. I think he can help me a lot.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports