“For the first time I can praise myself.” Reaction to Rublev’s hard-fought victory in Madrid

By | May 11, 2024

Andrey Rublev had a fantastic one and a half weeks in Madrid, pulling himself out of a prolonged series of defeats and leading to his second career title at ATP-1000 tournaments. Here’s a collection of comments about the final between the Russian and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the tennis world. Before the decisive match, Russian experts unanimously called Andrey the favorite of this meeting. However, Viktor Yanchuk, a distinguished coach of Russia, considered the match with Auger-Aliassime the most challenging for the Russian after his victory over Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.

“Rublev played well throughout the tournament, served well, and earned his favorite right-hand shot. Now he faces the final, and it will be the toughest match after [Carlos] Alcaraz. Andrey looked more solid than all his opponents in Madrid, and he will be the favorite in the final, but the opponent is also very strong, and it will not be easy to beat him, it will require a lot of effort. We will support our athlete and follow him,” TASS quotes Yanchuk.

Former world number nine Andrey Chesnokov also explained why he expected Rublev to win this meeting.

“The way the Canadian reached the final is just fantastic. His last two matches he won by opponent’s withdrawal, practically without spending any energy, although he played well in previous matches. But Andrey played all the matches in the tournament amazingly. He has gained good form, moves superbly, distributes the balls to the corners so quickly that opponents can’t keep up with him, so for me, he is the favorite,” TASS quotes Chesnokov. “I think when we play, we always have tense, three-set matches. Obviously, he was at the top of our game. He deserves everything that happens to him, considering how consistent and good he has been for many years. But the final on Sunday is a separate match. Let’s see what happens. Looking neither back nor forward. I just focus on playing well, playing my game. If I do that, as before, I will give myself a chance to win, and hopefully, everything will work out,” ATP’s press service quotes Auger-Aliassime.

“I am very happy to have reached the final in Madrid for the first time. I didn’t expect this and am very happy because this is one of the cities with which I have big memories: the Davis Cup final (in 2021.— Note from “Championat”), and now this final,” Ubitennis quotes Rublev. At the end of the match, one of the first to congratulate Andrey on his victory was two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

“Hooray! Andrey took Madrid, knocking out Felix Auger-Aliassime. And I told you so! Cool, very happy for him!” Kuznetsova wrote on her Telegram channel.

The Russian Tennis Federation also rejoiced at Rublev’s victory on social networks.

“Champiooooon. Andrey Rublev — winner of the Masters in Madrid! 4:6, 7:5, 7:5! Bravo,” reads a message from the RTF.

Eighteen-time USSR champion and commentator Anna Dmitrieva also shared her emotions from Andrey’s victory.

“The beginning was surprising. I was sure that Andrey should have won quite convincingly. But he started very unsuccessfully. This determined a serious fight throughout the match. Then Andrey found, perhaps not his best game, but an optimal one. He did not allow the opponent to get ahead, kept him on a leash all the time. I am very pleased that Andrey, after difficult five defeats before this tournament, found his tennis and took control, always active, constantly attacking. Congratulations!” SE quotes Dmitrieva. Both tennis players after the final admitted that they had health problems during the tournament.

“It was a strange week. I had stomach issues in the middle of the tournament. At one point, I wasn’t sure if I could continue playing, and [opponent’s name] just retired. It’s strange. I don’t know, maybe there was a virus in Madrid. I was lucky that I didn’t play in the quarterfinals and semifinals, and even in this case, today I had cramps. I think it’s something physical, it hasn’t happened to me in my career before. I think my body was tired of fighting the virus all week,” Punto de Break quotes Auger-Aliassime.

Rublev also detailed his condition in Madrid.

“Tomorrow I stay in the hospital, they will do a check-up of the whole [body]. It’s unclear, it’s some strong, crazy angina or some virus, god knows how to treat it, because nothing I take really helps.

My throat is so swollen that I can’t swallow. When I lie on my side, I can’t breathe. Plus, the first four days there were sores, I couldn’t eat anything because they started to burn insanely. I ate baby food, just rice or pasta. At least it stopped burning, I could eat, but then the throat swelled to the point that you can’t chew anything, because it doesn’t fit. And so a week.

Plus a finger, which became inflamed on the foot and pressed on the bone, it was impossible to put the foot in the sneaker. Because of this virus, I had some red spots all over my body, some blisters started to pop up on my feet, today they were punctured.

At this Masters [compared to the victory in Monte Carlo] I am more proud. For the first time, I can praise myself. Here I can say that I am proud of myself,” Andrey said in an interview with “More!”.

Thanks to the victory in Madrid, Rublev won his second Masters title, and in the rankings, he returned to the sixth spot. Ahead of Andrey is another ATP-1000 tournament in Rome, followed by Roland Garros. In Italy, the Russian will have to defend points for reaching the fourth round, and in France, for the third.

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