In tennis, mental toughness is the underlying skill that makes one a great player. And the 24-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev has indeed shown his mental prowess in the 2020 ATP Tour. Leading the season in titles (5), the Russian concluded the year at Number 8 in the world. When asked if he had a method for dealing with stress, Rublev had a witty response.
After tennis resumed from the pandemic-break, a different Rublev entered the arena. He started playing deep into the game, and he strategically gained momentum in every match by hitting clean winners. This helped him make a streak of 15 consecutive ATP 500 wins and placed him in his first-ever ATP Finals tournament. But what is the Russian’s secret method of dealing with stress?
When asked if he had a specific way to deal with stress, Rublev said, “We are people, it’s impossible.” Rublev also believes that no mechanism works every single time once applied.
However, managing what can be managed becomes the key to winning bigger results. “Whoever says anything, squeezes everyone, everyone is afraid, everyone’s legs and arms are shaking. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sport or some kind of situation in life. And that’s okay. The question is: do you accept it or not,” said Rublev.
Now that he is a part of the big league, Rublev’s real test begins. Although he has not won any big tournament unlike the other next-generation players, the Russian will look to change that next year. He draws inspiration from the active top players to not give excuses for losses.
The results in tennis change every coming week, and the players need to be capable to withstand any circumstances. According to Rublev, that is what separates the best players from the rest.
“Top players like Nadal or Dominic, Federer have the courage to say:”I didn’t win this match because I was pinched so that I couldn’t handle the pressure. There are matches when you are squeezed, and you can still cope, but, as a rule, you cannot always control it. It will always be,” Andrey explained.
The Russian will now have more eyes on him than ever before. It will be interesting to see if he can live up to the many expectations.