The latest edition of the ATP Finals elected a new Maestro. Daniil Medvedev managed to beat Novak Djokovic in the second Round Robin match, Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Dominic Thiem in the final. The Russian then defeated the top three players in the world ranking and deserved to add one of the most prestigious trophies on the circuit to his already important palmarès.
Andrey Rublev gave the example of Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer to explain the phenomenon of pressure. Rublev singled out his match against Nadal in particular, where the Russian got overwhelmed by the occasion.
Rublev on his match against Rafael Nadal
In a recent interview with Sport24, Andrey Rublev explained why he struggled to deal with the pressure during the tournament, and how even the top players succumb to it every now and then.
“We are people, it’s impossible,” Rublev said. “There is no such method that once - and you do not feel anything. Whoever says anything, squeezes everyone, everyone is afraid, everyone’s legs and arms are shaking.
It doesn’t matter if its a sport or some kind of situation in life. And that’s okay. The question is: do you accept it or not?” Rublev also pointed out that acknowledging the power of pressure is the first step towards learning how to deal with it.
The Russian cited the example of players like Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer, who are brave enough to admit the instances when they cannot handle the pressure. "Someone begins to look for excuses: 'No, it's just the light or the wind blew, that's why I didn't hit'," Rublev went on.
"Top players like Nadal or Dominic, Federer have the courage to say, 'I didn't win this match because I was pinched so I couldn't handle the pressure'" The Russian admitted that he couldn't handle the pressure on the day, and that his eagerness to prove himself against a player like Nadal led to him getting ‘overwhelmed’.
“In the match with Nadal, I again could not cope with the pressure,” Rublev admitted. “I understood that I was having a good season and that I had a good level of play. I wanted to show that I am ready to fight with players like Nadal.
I got overwhelmed, reconfigured and could not cope with the pressure”. Although Federer won his last Grand Slam in Melbourne only in 2018, he would most probably be starting as the fifth seed this time making things harder for him.
Age is another factor that could act as an obstacle for the 39-year-old. The Swiss Maestro is certainly fit enough to hit some powerful forehand winners. However, will be able to cover the court easily is the real question.