The 22-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev couldn't be in the national squad at the ATP Cup, entering the ATP 250 event in Doha instead and lifting the third ATP title. Andrey closed the previous season with four victories at the Davis Cup Finals, barely taking any time off the court during the offseason and working hard on his game in Barcelona ahead of that Doha trip.
Finding his A-game in the first event of the new season, Rublev secured the title and 250 ATP points, thrilled with the way he played and feeling confident after a perfect start. With no time for rest, Andrey went to Auckland for the last test ahead of the Australian Open where he refuses to put a burden on his shoulders, traveling to Melbourne with no expectations and just wanting to play his best tennis.
Andrey was happy with the way he performed in Doha, praising the organizers and the conditions before heading to Adelaide where he is among the top seeds in the week prior to the first Major of the season. In the youngest title match in Doha, Rublev took down Corentin Moutet 6-2, 7-6, controlling the pace before losing ground a little bit in the second part of the second set, still finding the way to seal the deal in straight sets and celebrate the title.
"I don't know what to say about expectations at the Australian Open; I don't expect anything. I want to go there and if I lose in the first round while giving my best, I will be happy," Rublev said. "The main goal is to fight for every point.
Tomorrow I have to fly to Auckland for my next tournament and I'll have to be ready to compete again. I felt that the match with Moutet was close and intense. What happened in the closing stages of the second set could have happened in the first set as well.
I was feeling the ball since the beginning, trying to win every game and the title, although it became much more difficult by the end. He played well in some tense moments for me, breaking back and returning to the scoreboard.
I showed a few emotions; I could behave better on the court. In the end, I kept fighting, as always, finishing the match in straight sets, which made me very happy. It is the first time that I won the title at the beginning of the season and the feeling is amazing.
I always enjoy to be here in Doha, to play matches and practice in nice conditions. I was waiting for the time to come back to start the season here because the organization is always so good; the organizers are always doing everything for the players; it is the best possible place for the Australian Open preparations, especially after the title I won.
I wasn't thinking about that final from 2018 before the match with Moutet, just going out there and trying to give my best."