World No. 7 Andrey Rublev recalled meeting Daniil Medvedev for the first time after the 25-year-old became No. 1 for the first time in his career. On Thursday, Novak Djokovic suffered a shock loss in the Dubai quarterfinal and Medvedev now doesn't have to win Acapulco in order to become the new No.
1. "I can say about Daniil, the first time I met him when I was six years old, it wasn't even an official tournament, just local maybe our coaches or something, they did like a day tournament, something like that, for the players, for the kids.
We were six years old," Rublev recalled, per Reem Abulleil. "I think that time we were playing up to four games. The third set was a tie-break tilč 7. I think we were playing, like, three hours this match because we were playing lobs.
One rally was 10 minutes maybe. You can see that both of us had a spirit, doesn't matter how but don't give up, the tears. One extra ball doesn't matter if it's a lob or if it's too slow."
Rublev: Medvedev has always been ultra competitive
Medvedev's fighting spirit and resilience is well-documented.
Rublev thinks Medvedev's fighting spirit and competitiveness is what brought him to the top spot. "Since he was a kid he was always fighting. In the beginning I think when he was a kid he didn't have that good technique.
He had weird shots. Basically now as well (smiling). When he was a kid it was even worse," Rublev continued. "He didn't have the huge strokes or something, but he had this amazing thing that he is showing now, that he was fighting no matter what the end.
This is since he was a kid. It was not that he changed something, he was like this since I know him. "This is the main thing that brought him to the top level, why he wins and achieves so many great tournaments. Now he's No. 1."