Road to Boston: Andrey Rublev, Team Europe
One of four debutants for Team Europe, Russian Andrey Rublev brings his relentless baseline aggression and lightning-quick movement to the Laver Cup fray in 2021.
The 23-year-old, who added an Olympic mixed doubles gold medal, arrives at a career-high world No.5 thanks to a season that includes his first two Masters 1000 finals and team success in the ATP Cup.
How the year started
For the second year running, Rublev made a blistering start to his season on hard courts.
In 2020, he opened with back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide, while this year he went undefeated in four singles matches as he combined with Medvedev and Aslan Karatsev to clinch the ATP Cup for Russia.
He carried that streak into the Australian Open, where he notched his third straight Grand Slam quarterfinal before compatriot Medvedev ended his charge.
In the opening quarter of the season, he won a tour-leading 20 matches, adding an eighth career title in Rotterdam. It marked his fourth straight ATP 500 trophy across 2020-21 and his seventh consecutive win in a tour final.
First Masters 1000 final and Olympic gold
The Muscovite’s hard-court form carried to Miami where he made his first Masters 1000 semifinal, only to fall to Hubert Hurkacz.
Less than a fortnight later, he made a seamless transition to clay as he stunned 11-time champion Rafael Nadal en route to his maiden Masters 1000 final in Monte Carlo, where he lost to Team Europe teammate Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Despite an opening exit at Roland Garros, Rublev showed his growing proficiency on all surfaces when he reached his first grass-court final in Halle two weeks later – falling to Frenchman Ugo Humbert – and the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.
Upon his return to hard courts, Rublev found immediate success on the Olympics stage in Tokyo, where he teamed with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to land the gold medal in mixed doubles over compatriots Karatsev and Elena Vesnina.
How it’s going
A return to singles form was just around the corner as the Russian advanced to his second Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati, with victories over the likes of Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils and top seed Medvedev.
While Zverev had his measure in the title match, his win over Medvedev marked a breakthrough as a first over his compatriot in five attempts.
“There are still so many things to improve but it’s like you pass university, you know, they give you a diploma,” Rublev joked about the win.
Despite a third-round defeat to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open, it was enough to lift Rublev to his current best ranking of world No.5.
Rublev on playing Laver Cup
One of two Russians alongside good friend Medvedev, Rublev gives team captain Bjorn Borg a highly dependable option in singles and doubles.
“I’ve heard great things about the Laver Cup and can’t wait to be a part of it. It’s going to be an amazing feeling to compete at TD Garden,” he said.