Work in progress: Andrey Rublev’s quest for calm | ATP Tour

Tennis players often grow up before our very eyes in the very public melting pot of the arena. Her brilliance is obvious – but so are the challenges of overcoming adolescent emotions. Hopefully maturity will come sooner rather than later. For some it may not come at all.

This, Andrei Rublev –a No. 1 in the junior world and Roland Garros Boy champion at 16 – everyone knows that so well.

Play back in March TaylorFritz In the semifinals of the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, Rublev’s emotions burst into view and made for a viral moment. Trailing 5-6, he hit a shot into the net that cost him the first set. Enraged, the fiery redhead smashed a ball high in the air, punishing the offending bat. He struck the strings with such force that he opened a gash on his right hand; The blood led to a medical timeout before losing the second set and eventually the match.

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Four months ago, the 24-year-old posted on social media that big changes were coming.

At this week Astana open in Kazakhstan, in an interview with ATP Media, he spoke candidly about his continuing education in pursuit of maturity. He’s particularly proud of how he fared in a tumultuous third-round game this year US Open versus Denis Shapovalov.

“Everyone has their own weaknesses,” he says. “My weakness is mental and little by little there are some improvements. [Before] I would explode and lose the match because of it. But even now it looks impossible [maintain composure], I did it. It gave me a turning point and I was able to win the match. I was a bit proud of myself after the game to be honest. I’ve shown in court that I’m better as a person. But I don’t want to focus on that. It’s like, ‘OK, go back to reality and you still have that problem there – go fix it.’”

Rublev won in a fifth-set tiebreak in an epic match that lasted more than four hours before going down Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinals. That was the last game he played before arriving in Astana.

On Monday the fifth seeded qualifier shipped Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-3 and plays Zhang Zhizhen, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 comeback winner Aslan Karatsevin a second-round match on Wednesday.

By most standards, 2022 was a great year for Rublev. He has already won 40 games and three titles – in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade, defeats Novak Djokovic in this final. And yet, given his high standards, in the quarterfinals Roland Garros and the US Open were disappointing.

Had the seedlings lasted into the quarterfinals, Rublev would have had an instant opportunity to prove himself at elite level as he would have faced Carlo Alcarazthe 19-year-old world No. 1. As it turns out, his friend and frequent training partner was stunned by a lucky loser David Gofin in a first-round upset with straight sets.

Goffin, along with Pavel KotovHe’s one of two lucky losers to win a first-round match. Qualifiers Zhang and Luca Nardi also made it to the second round.

Rublev says he’s serious about self-improvement. You could see that after his first round match at the National Tennis Center. Almost 30 minutes after defeating Djere, he was still signing autographs and taking selfies with fans.

He understands that emotions are part of being human. Rublev gave the examples of a waiter bringing the wrong dish or a car cutting you off on the highway.

“You say all the bad things about the guy,” Rublev said. “Most people in life are like that. That’s how athletes are.

“I have a good game to be at the next level – and I’m the one who stopped me from doing that. [In New York] I was better on the pitch as a person, better as a player, more professional. I could handle difficult moments. It takes time.”

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