Andrey Rublev Opens up on Receiving Prophetic Praise from Roger Federer

Published 11/26/2020, 4:46 AM EST
Tennis – ATP 500 – Erste Bank Open – Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – November 1, 2020 Russia’s Andrey Rublev celebrates winning the final against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego Credits: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Rising Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev has said he was humbled at being picked out for high praise by none other than Roger FedererThe 20-time Grand Slam winner had named the 23-year-old as one who will vie for greatness in men’s tennis in the years to come.

Roger Federer had predicted Andrey Rublev to have a breakthrough 2020

The Swiss Master had also backed Rublev to make 2020 his breakthrough year, predicting that he “will do something special”And true to Federer’s words, the year 2020, while an eminently forgettable one for many, has been ‘special’ for Rublev. 


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In a season crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and condensed because of it, Rublev won five Tour titles, the most by any player this year. The Russian also equaled 17-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic, for the most number of wins on Tour this year.

Currently ranked 8th, Rublev’s run of titles also helped him qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals for the first time this year.


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When Federer’s ‘nice’ words felt ‘unrealistic’ for Rublev

Though his maiden run at the Finals ended in the group stages, it was a season where positives far outweighed the negatives for the big Russian. In a chat with, Rublev said though he felt good earning praise from Federer, he thought his words were more ‘unrealistic’  than prophetic at the time.

“It’s incredibly nice when a legend like Federer says things like that. Then I realized it was a little unrealistic. There were many younger guys who stood in front of me,” Rublev said“I finished last year (2019) 22nd in the world and there were at least two or three guys younger and higher in the rankings. Two or three more were a little older.”

Tennis – ATP 500 – Erste Bank Open – Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – October 31, 2020 Russia’s Andrey Rublev celebrates after winning his semi final match against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

“Behind me there were many other younger guys and peers who play very cool. I understood that the competition was unrealistically strong,” Rublev said. 

(Quotes have been translated)

Though surrounded by a wealth of young and unheralded talent in the circuit, the Russian rose in the rungs of the men’s game through the weight of his performances.


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Field of play hugely competitive, says Rublev

Despite his run of wins this season, Rublev believes the professional circuit is hugely competitive and one has to keep up a certain level of play to stand out. “Anyone could play cool, win tournaments. There would not be enough seats for all. I understood that I needed to work hard and improve a lot. In the end, it turned out that this is my best season. Everything went well,” Rublev said.


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Apart from picking up more wins on the Tour, the Russian will be eyeing Grand Slam titles next season to take his next big leap into greatness.




Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.