In a face-off between two Russian tennis stars at the Nitto ATP Finals, Andrey Rublev found himself grappling with missed opportunities against close friend Daniil Medvedev. Despite an impressive start, Rublev succumbed to a 6-4, 6-2 defeat, ruing the untimely errors that proved costly in key moments.
Bright Start Overshadowed by Missed Break Points
Rublev showcased brilliance in the opening set, pleased with his level of play. However, the fifth seed couldn’t capitalize on seven break points in his last two return games of the set. Reflecting on these missed opportunities, Rublev expressed his frustration, stating, “I was not able to use my serve really well to open the court. When he had important moments, I think almost all the break points he saved with a good serve.”
The match’s turning points were evident in critical moments, where Medvedev’s ability to save break points with powerful serves made the difference. Rublev acknowledged that his missed chances, including a crucial drive volley and a forehand opportunity at 5-4, 0/30, played a significant role in the outcome. “Those things in the end make a huge difference,” he lamented.
Learning Curve Against a Close Friend
Despite the defeat dropping Rublev to a 2-7 record in his head-to-head series with Medvedev, he sees each encounter as a learning opportunity. Rublev, while acknowledging the challenge his friend poses, highlighted the mental aspect of the game in crucial moments. “The more I play with him, the better I feel,” he said. “The more I play with him, the more it gets normal for me that it’s coming [back] one extra ball, one extra ball. But in the end, today was quite easy for him.”
Having experienced close matches with Medvedev in the past, Rublev believes there’s room for improvement, particularly in mental fortitude during pivotal moments. Reflecting on their encounters, he shared, “The more I play, even if the score is different, from the baseline I feel every time better and better against him. The question is more about the mental part in those important moments, to keep focused, to use those chances when I have these balls, drive forehands, whatever, volleys. When he gives you these extra balls, be focused to finish these points.”
In the world of tennis, where mental resilience is as crucial as physical prowess, Rublev is determined to refine his game and make the most of the opportunities presented by Medvedev’s unique playing style.