Andrey Rublev gets honest on 'many warnings' that led to him becoming calmer

After a stunning Dubai meltdown that appeared to be a wake-up call, Rublev looks much more calm now.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andrey Rublev gets honest on 'many warnings' that led to him becoming calmer
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Andrey Rublev says he would like to think that past warnings have finally gotten to him and are to credit for him looking much more calm and cool in Madrid as the Russian tennis star acknowledged it was time to start changing in that aspect.

Two months ago in Dubai, Rublev got into a line umpire's face and started screaming at him - which led to an instant disqualification. For 26-year-old Rublev, delivering an on-court meldown and outburst wasn't anything new but this time it was by far the most stunning he had. 

After the incident and drawing very negative attention to himself, Rublev appeared to be mentally impacted by everything that happened and lost four of his next five matches before coming to Madrid. But in Madrid over the last 10 days, Rublev has been looking much better and that was evident again in the semifinal, when he took on Taylor Fritz and beat the 13th-ranked American 6-4 6-3.

Against Fritz, Rublev dropped his serve in the very first game of the match. But he didn't panic and quickly bounced back. 

“I started really tight. I missed a couple of returns, a couple of easy shots, but it is part of sport and part of tennis. When he broke me, I thought, ‘OK, it is only the beginning, we have a long set and we will see. Maybe he will also not start well on his serve,'" Rublev said of beating Fritz.

“In the end, I think in the first three points he didn’t hit a first serve, so I was able to win and it was 0/30. On one break point I played well, and somehow it was 1-1. Then the match was equal until the end of the set.”

Andrey Rublev
Andrey Rublev© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Rublev: I was warned many times that I need to be more calm

As mentioned above, for years world No. 8 Rublev has been known as someone who can lost it at times on the court and deliver an outburst. But in the past, Rublev would always take out his frustration on himself or on his racket - never on someone else. That's why his Dubai outburst was something different. 

The Dubai situation wasn't something that Rublev would be proud of but now it seems that it was a wake-up call that the 26-year-old Russian needed.

“I had many, many, how you say, warnings in life already that show me that I need to be more calm. It was not only with Dubai but was in general many times that I was close to doing something not good, and I was lucky that everything went well," Rublev said after reaching the Madrid final. 

“I had a lot of warnings already to be more calm, so I don’t know. I would like to think that it’s more that I’m improving, and not only because of the ‘warnings.’ I would like to believe that it’s me who is the one who is improving. Doesn’t matter the situations that I had.”

Andrey Rublev
Andrey Rublev© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Rublev on facing Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Madrid final

While Rublev progressed into the Madrid final with a win over Fritz, Auger-Aliassime sealed a final ticket at Caja Magica after Jiri Lehecka was forced to retire from their semifinal match just a couple of games into it due to an injury.

When Rublev and 23-year-old Auger-Aliassime meet in the Madrid final, they will be taking on each other for the sixth time in their careers. So far, Rublev has had much more success in their meetings, beating Auger-Aliassime four times and losing just once.

However, it is not that Rublev has been dominant against Auger-Aliassime as literally all of his wins against the Canadian were tight contests. After sealing a 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-3 win over Auger-Aliassime in their first meeting in 2018 Umag, Rublev also won their second in 2020 Adelaide with a 7-6 (5) 6-7 (7) 6-4 scoreline.

In their third meeting, Auger-Aliassime finally clinched his first win over Rublev after beating the Russian 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-2 in 2022 Rotterdam.

That same year, Rublev edged out Auger-Aliassime 7-5 7-6 (4) in Marseille before also beating the Canadian 3-6 7-6 (6) 7-5 in Rotterdam earlier this year. 

Heading into their Madrid final, Rublev expects another tough day at the office against Auger-Aliassime.

“All our matches that we played was always drama, always three-sets matches. Very close. The last one we played Rotterdam, I don’t know how many match points I saved," Rublev said of facing Auger-Aliassime.

Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime
Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime© Getty Images Sport - Paul Kane

If Rublev beats Auger-Aliassime, he will win his second tournament of the season, having previously Hong Kong. On the other side, Auger-Aliassime will win his first title of the year if he defeats Rublev in the Madrid final. 

Andrey Rublev