Vicente On Rublev: ‘He’ll Put In Whatever Hours You Ask’
There is no doubt that Andrey Rublev is one of the players of the moment. The Russian will play in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday against Alexander Zverev after producing a spectacular start to the year, in which he has won all 11 matches he has played, including titles in Doha and Adelaide.
Shortly before battling for a place in the quarter-finals at the season’s first major, Fernando Vicente, the Russian’s coach, sat down with ATPTour.com to analyse what the World No. 16 has achieved.
Kafelnikov On Rublev: ‘He’s Going To Do Some Damage’
On Winning Two Titles To Start The Year…
“I’m very happy because he deserves it. I’m surprised at the results, but he works so hard and puts so much into it… Rublev is a very good player, he’s been playing well and of course it’s not easy to win tournaments”, says Vicente of the trophies picked up by his charge in Doha and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the season. “He’s playing very well, hitting the ball amazingly well and [is] very content mentally. It’s been many years since that last happened, but he still has a lot to improve on… he lacks a little in reactions and his second serve and he could come to the net more.”
Being Unbeaten Thus Far In 2020…
“He’s tired, but he’s coped with it”, Vicente says. “He’s not overwhelmed, he knows he has several wins under his belt here in Melbourne, and in Goffin he beat one of the big opponents, one of the best in the world. Rublev wants to reach that level.”
On Rublev’s Evolution In Their Four Years Together…
“This is our fourth year, and he’s changed everything”, recognises Vicente, who started to train Rublev when he was a junior. “He’s a very restless person and he didn’t have much [of an] idea of how to play tactically. He wouldn’t see what was happening. We laid the foundations for learning while we worked on his physical strength… He really liked hitting it hard, but he wasn’t used to running.”
On Rublev’s Character…
“The mental side is very important,” confesses the Spanish coach. “He’s trying to control himself because sometimes he goes crazy, and his opponents know that. He has to accept that other people play well, too. Now he’s more relaxed.
“On court there is no problem because he loves playing and he’ll put in whatever hours you ask of him without saying a word. The problem is more about controlling his emotions, being capable of seeing what is happening on the other side of the net, managing his nerves and not showing them.
“A lot of the time that comes from being demanding: he can do nine things well and one badly, and he beats himself up about it too much. He doesn’t deserve that. Nobody can get every ball on the line at five thousand miles an hour.”
On One-On-One Conversations With Rublev In The Early Hours…
“With Rublev you really have to choose the right moment to tell him things”, says Vicente. “On court it’s very hard. His mind is a little unusual. Sometimes we are up until five in the morning talking in the hotel because he’s lost a match.
“Last year in Paris, when he had just won in Moscow, we were up until four in the morning talking one-to-one for two nights because he was feeling receptive, and it was a good time to analyse what he does well and what he does badly, where he makes mistakes, how he can improve as a person.”