Andrey Rublev recalls 'mentally feeling like Rafael Nadal' in win over Roger Federer

In 2019, Rublev upset Federer at the Cincinnati Masters.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andrey Rublev recalls 'mentally feeling like Rafael Nadal' in win over Roger Federer
© Getty Images Sport - Rob Carr

Andrey Rublev says "all stars aligned" in a shock win over Roger Federer and also admitted that he mentally felt like he was Rafael Nadal during his lone match against the Swiss. Rublev, 26, met Federer for the first and lone time at the 2019 Cincinnati Masters.

After winning two qualifying matches as an alternate, Rublev also won his opening two main draw matches. Then, Rublev clinched what was his biggest win at the time, stunning Federer 6-3 6-4 in the Cincinnati round-of-16. "Against Federer, it was like a fairy tale, unreal.

How it all came together. And it was my first big win. It was a fairy tale, all stars aligned. Something like that happens every 700 years, like an asteroid. I wasn't ready at all back then. It was like a gift. That match was too perfect.

I forgot to sign up for the tournament, I shouldn't have played at all, I was the last alternate, with one racket with a shaky handle. I played against a player I always lost to. I lost to (Mikhail) Kukushkin 3-4 times that year.

I lost to (Nikoloz) Basilashvili a couple of times and in the Hamburg final, (Stan) Wawrinka always beat me easily. And I've beat the first, the second, and the third and it's Federer," Rublev said for Russian YouTube Channel "More!"

Rublev on his match against Federer: I felt like I was Nadal

In the first set, Rublev blew an early break but broke Federer again in the fourth game and then held on to his serve for the remainder of the set to clinch the opener.

After winning the first set, Rublev broke Federer in the seventh game of the second set before serving out for the match three games later. "I hated the racket I was playing with, but didn't matter what I was doing, it all went in, everything.

Impossible serves, that never happened before, an unexplained second serve that he couldn't attack, returns, volleys that stayed in with some kind of magic, and mentally it was like I was (Rafael) Nadal," Rublev said.

Andrey Rublev Rafael Nadal Roger Federer