Andrey Rublev has very honestly and directly confessed that he would prefer not to play Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. Rublev, 25, is set to play against record nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic in the quarterfinal at Melbourne Park.
Rublev is aiming for his first Grand Slam semifinal and he admits that he would be happier if he was due to meet someone else in the Australian Open quarterfinal. "No one wants to face Novak. I prefer to be in any other part of the draw - but not Novak!" Rublev said of playing Djokovic, per Eurosport.
Can Rublev beat Djokovic?
After being hampered by a hamstring injury in his first three Australian Open matches, Djokovic looked flawless in a 6-2 6-1 6-2 win over de Minaur. For Rublev, that's a scary sign. “Close to I think, there’s not much to say about my performance.
It was almost flawless really, from the beginning I was locked in. I felt great with my leg today, the best I have felt this tournament and I felt more free to move around. I knew what to expect with the crowd, the atmosphere and De Minaur - even though I’d never faced him, I kind of knew what the game plan needed to be.
I knew I needed to stay aggressive and take the time away from him because he’s one of the quickest players on the tour. From the beginning to the last point, great, really, really great, I played well so I’m happy," Djokovic told Eurosport after beating de Minaur.
Meanwhile, Rublev and Djokovic will be going head-to-head for the third time when they meet at the Australian Open. Djokovic defeated Rublev at the 2021 ATP Finals, before the Russian beat the Serb in the 2022 Belgrade final.
In their last meeting, Djokovic defeated Rublev at the 2022 ATP Finals. It remains to be seen if Rublev can upset Djokovic for his first Grand Slam semifinal.