23-year old Russian professional Andrey Rublev won the most ATP singles titles in the 2020 season with five. He even qualified for the ATP Finals in London, where he exited from the group stage of the tournament. His fellow countryman and former World No. 1 tennis player Marat Safin reviewed his stellar season.
First Russian in the International Hall of Fame, Safin shares a good rapport with World No. 8. According to him, Rublev winning five titles “doesn’t mean nothing”. On top of that, he insisted that the Vienna winner is still to win everything in his career.
2020 is undoubtedly Rubley’s breakthrough season, but he is behind in the race with other next-generation players. Therefore, the two-time Grand Slam winner Safin urged him to focus on bigger points. To emphasize that, he gave the example of World No. 1 who only won four titles this year.
Tallest World No.1 said, “He won five tournaments, but these are not “Masters”, these are not “Grand Slam”. Novak won less but finished first. Andrey needs to switch and play in major tournaments.”
The elder Russian also didn’t seem impressed with Rublev’s performance at the season-ending tournament.
“If you play with Nadal, then you need to go to the net and play competently. You need to work with this. Defeat from Tsitsipas? I have to give him a slap on the head for that. He knows himself that he has let go,” said Safin.
(All quotes are translated via Google Translate)
As a countryman to countryman, Safin backs Rublev with healthy criticism and keeps in touch with him regularly.
“He (Rublev) has a rich arsenal, good physics, light on his feet. He understands what I’m talking about,” Marat rationalized.
He continued, “Andrey needs to learn not to break down in stressful situations. The sport of elite achievement is not about learning to hit with different hands and go to play, but how long you can withstand a stressful situation.”
Rublev registered a 41-10 season with 15 consecutive ATP 500 wins in 2020. Next year, following the advice of his predecessor, the 23-year Russian might invest heavily in big tournaments. For now, the upcoming Grand Slam 2021 Australian Open is still undergoing a schedule crisis.