What sparked Andrey Rublev’s Monte Carlo comeback?
Andrey Rublev says that he realised after losing the first set against Spaniard Jaume Munar that he had to change something or face a first round exit from the Monte Carlo Masters.
Rublev came from behind to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory after two hours and 12 minutes.
Speaking after the match he says he recognised the danger of defeat should he not adjust his gameplan.
“The feeling was, ‘No way, I might be out in the first round of Monaco.’ Then, I don’t know, I started to feel I had to change something, I had to play more aggressive,” Rublev said in his on-court interview.
“I cannot just push the ball because in the end he [was] running much better than me and in the end he [was] waiting for the right moment and he changed much easier [the direction] because I [was] not putting pressure on him.”
Rublev, who featured in the Monte Carlo Masters final in 2021, ultimately outplayed and outpowered Munar, hitting 36 wins and breaking Munar’s serve six times to advance.
A peculiarity of the schedule is that Rublev completed his second round match before the conclusion of all first round matches, as such he could face any one of three men in the next round.
One of those men is Karen Khachanov who maintained his strong from when he cruised past last season’s beaten finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 6-2 in just 75 minutes.
In the second round Khachanov will face either qualifier Ilya Ivashka or Marrakech semi-finalist Dan Evans.
Rublev has a growing number of fans around the world, not least because of his reputation as one of the kindest tennis professionals.
Compatriot Ivan Gakhov revealed that Rublev has frequently gifted him gear to play in as he doesn’t have a sponsor, while he says that the other prominent Russian players on tour are also very friendly.
“Andrey Rublev helped me last year with some clothing because I don’t have any clothing sponsors,” Gakhov said. “Daniil is also a very good friend of mine because we play some games together by phone or by PlayStation. Karen here congratulated me after every win, so we have a good friendship between us.”
Rublev has teamed up with Khachanov for a doubles campaign and will face top-seeded pairing Neal Skupski and Wesley Koolhof on Wednesday while he has the day off from singles action.
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