Web Stories Thursday, April 25

Andrey Rublev says one his top goals this year is to be “ready for those big moments at majors” as he looks to get over the “hurdle” of progressing beyond a Grand Slam quarter-final.

Rublev has been a consistent presence at the top of the men’s game over the last few years and in 2023 won his first Masters title in Monte Carlo.

But he has not been able to get past the last eight at a Grand Slam, suffering a 10th quarter-final loss at the Australian Open in January.

He has lost in the quarter-finals at five of the last six majors he has played, winning just three sets.

“My target this year is to keep improving, get better as a player and as a person,” he told Gulf News about his aims for 2024.

“I want to improve mentally and be ready for those big moments of majors to take my chances when I face the same opponent again.”

Rublev is currently ranked at No. 5 in the world, around 3,000 points behind fourth-placed Daniil Medvedev.

He thinks the gap between the very top players is only “little details”.

“They’re all great players. Daniil Medvedev, Jannik and Carlos Alcaraz are all amazing players. Novak [Djokovic] is the best player.

“Everyone knows that Daniil can win a Grand Slam. He played in six finals and he was close to winning some of them, two sets up against Rafael Nadal and Jannik. Maybe when they play again the results could be different.

“At this level, it’s not about tennis, it about little details like who is more mentally ready in that moment and who’s feeling better on that day. Maybe when the play a week later it could be different story as everyone know how to play tennis. I am besides them.”

Rublev lost at the quarter-finals of this year’s Australian Open to eventual winner Jannik Sinner.

Reflecting on his display in Melbourne, he said: “In this Australian Open, I was feeling proud about my efforts because I felt that mentally I was in a good shape and heading in the right direction. That’s the most important thing.

Jannik Sinner v Andrey Rublev – Australian Open highlights

“The better I prepare mentally, the faster I will break this quarter-final hurdle.”

Rublev is currently in action at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

He plays in the semi-finals against Alexander Bublik on Thursday.

He says he now feels a “deserving” world No. 5, having not done so a couple of years earlier.

“When I finished at No. 5 last year, I felt I totally deserved [it]. I had been a world No. 5 in 2021, but in my opinion that was not a true reflection of my status. It was due to players getting injured and ending their season early or some didn’t play well.

“I also felt that my game was not up to the No. 5 world ranking. But now I feel that I finished the year as I should have finished.”

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