The 22-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev has been nominated for the Comeback Player of the Year award together with Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The youngster kicked off the season from just inside the top-70 and will finish it in the top-25 after a breakthrough run that displayed his full potential.
Andrey has been one of the most prominent players from the Next Gen group, winning the first Futures title just after turning 16 and lifting the Roland Garros junior crown in 2014, beating Jaume Munar in the final. The Moscow native cracked the top-200 at the age of 17 in the summer of 2015 and needed two more years to make the next step and enter the elite 100 in June 2017.
The best was yet to come in the following months, with Andrey conquering the first ATP title in Umag as a lucky loser and advancing into the quarter-final at the US Open where Rafael Nadal halted him in straight sets. The Russian was the finalist of the first Next Gen Masters in Milan at the end of the season, losing to Hyeon Chung in four sets and preparing himself for an even better run in 2018.
The start of the previous season had been very promising, reaching the final in Doha and achieving a career-high ranking in February. Instead of moving forwards towards the very top, Rublev suffered a lower back stress fracture in April and was forced to stay away from the court for three months, struggling to find the old form once he returned!
Rublev was the semi-finalist in Washington and that stood as his only good result by the end of 2018, unable to find the rhythm in the first four months of 2019 as well to drop out from the top-100 after a year and a half.
The youngster shared more bad news with his fans after losing in the qualifying round in Munich, announcing he is forced to skip the rest of the clay season due to the right wrist injury and making a return in Halle. Andrey needed some time to deliver his 'A game,' advancing into the final of the ATP 500 event in Hamburg before early exits in Washington and Montreal, failing to improve the ranking position ahead of Cincinnati.
The event in Ohio proved to be a game-changer for the Russian, qualifying for the main draw and toppling Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer to reach the first Masters 1000 quarter-final and find himself in the top-50. Andrey was the quarter-finalist in Winston-Salem, scoring three wins at the US Open to continue his rise and coming on the verge of the top-30 before the home ATP 250 event in Moscow.
There, Andrey went all the way to grab the second ATP title in a career, gaining a lot of confidence and securing four singles victories for Russia at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, missing the opportunity to fight for the title after that tight loss to Canada.
Unlike other players who have hit the Maldives or some other exotic destinations for well-deserved rest, Andrey Rublev is back in Barcelona, working hard at his native 4Slam Tennis Academy and preparing for the best possible start of the 2020 season that he opens in Doha.
Andrey will skip the ATP Cup and travel to Qatar instead, standing as the second seed in the draw behind Stan Wawrinka and hoping to embrace another good run on the court where he played in the final two years ago.