“At Least Once”: Andrey Rublev Wants Rafael Nadal Beaten at French Open 2021

Published 03/15/2021, 5:00 PM EDT
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning championship point during his Men’s Singles Final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day fifteen of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev has lavished praise on 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, saying his never-say-die spirit should serve as an example for his rivals, including himself, to beat him to the French Open title “at least once”.

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Nadal won his 13th career French Open title, more than any other player past or present.

The feat put him on level with old enemy Roger Federer’s career haul of Grand Slam titles.

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Andrey Rublev describes Rafael Nadal as someone who will die but continue to play

Rublev, who continued with his remarkable streak of wins and titles at ATP 500 events by lifting the trophy at the recent Rotterdam Open, his fourth such championship win from last year, describing Nadal as someone who will keep throwing punches till he drops dead.

“He is someone who will always fight to the end, no matter what. He will ‘die’ on the court but he will continue to play,” the Russian World Number 8 said.

On the Spaniard’s incredible consistency at Roland-Garros, Rublev said the other players should draw motivation from him to end his run at the French Open this year.

Rafael Nadal of Spain hugs the Musketeers’ Cup as he celebrates victory following the men’s singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria during day fifteen of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 10, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“Nadal has won 13 French Open titles. It should motivate us all to try to win it at least once,” the hard-hitting Russian said.

Even Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic doesn’t have enviable records against Rafael Nadal at French Open

His rival and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem has already thrown a challenge of sorts at the Spaniard, saying in a recent interview that he is focused on realizing his primary goal this season, which is to upstage Nadal at French Open.

Novak Djokovic was helpless across the net as Rafa absolutely demolished him in the final last year. The Serb has, however, beaten the Spaniard at the French Open, which was in 2015. Roger Federer could beat the Spaniard only twice in 16 meetings on clay; none of his victories came at Roland Garros.

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Nadal, in fact, holds a 7-1 head-to-head lead over Djokovic at Roland-Garros.

Thiem has also had his share of losses against Nadal at Roland-Garros. He reached the final in successive years in 2018 and 2019, only to be bested by the Spaniard on both occasions.

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So, will Nadal’s streak in Paris be broken this year? Unlikely, but let’s not rule it out.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

861 articles

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.

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