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Australian Open – Andrey Rublev: “I can go to the casino, if I play, I’m sure to win”

Andrey Rublev survived a match he always lost in the past. Second week of Grand Slam, a big fight, all this had rarely worked for him. Like during the last US Open, when he ended in tears, prostrate for long minutes in his chair after his defeat in the quarter-finals against Frances Tiafoe. This one had done as much harm as this one did good. This time, the Russian came out against Holger Rune in the round of 16 on Monday, after an epic and almost miraculous 5th set, like his victorious match point, a winning return thanks to the complicity of the net.

It was the latest twist in an improbable and sometimes chaotic scenario. This match point, Rublev is not about to forget it. “The last point… I don’t know, it’s never happened to me. This is probably the luckiest time of my life, admits the world N.6. There can’t be a better time than on a match point to get lucky. Now I can go to the casino. If I play, I’m sure to win.”

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I don’t have the words, I’m still shaking

Before this ending, to say the least happy, he had, as often, gone through all possible and imaginable states. “Mentally, everything was out of control today, smiled Rublev, who is never afraid to open up on this subject, sensitive at home. I suffered a lot. They weren’t even a roller coaster, it was like having a gun put to your head… The roller coaster, on the other hand, is nothing“.

Rublev – Rune: Highlights

This was truer than ever in a 5th and final set that he could have lost ten times before snatching it. Quickly broken, he found himself led 5-2. “I was down 5-2, at 6-5, I had two match points against me and I was down 7-3 in the super tie-break… I have no words, I’m still shaking“, he said. “At the start of the last set, I was completely frozen, continues the miracle of the day. Deep down I was thinking, ‘I can’t do this. I can no longer move, I can no longer strike. If I don’t check in with my serve, it’s over.‘”

Andrey Rublev admits it without difficulty, he was convinced that this match was over once broken in the last act. “I thought it was over. I was like, ‘He’s playing better than me, he deserves to win. He takes his chance. He does what I would normally do if I want to win this game. Drop it.’“Then, without really knowing why, he freed himself. Perhaps because he no longer believed in it, paradoxically. Freed from all weight on his shoulders, he finally let go.”This is the moment of the match when I played the best“, judges the Muscovite.

From 5-0 to 9-11: How Rune lost it all in a crazy super tie-break

I said to myself ‘At least, don’t do like at Roland-Garros’

So he still needed two other miracles, to rule out these two match points at 5-6 against him when he was serving for the super tie-break, then in the latter, when Holger Rune flew away. At 5-0 against him, what did Rublev have in mind this time? Some more positive thoughts:

It was already the third time that I was sure it was lost on me. But I said to myself ‘At least, don’t do like at Roland-Garros when I had completely given up’ (He lost 10-2 in the super tie-break in the quarters against Marin Cilic). I wanted to try to fight, to play better. If you can earn a point, earn a point. If you can win four, go win four, etc. From 7-2, I played really well, read his serve well, returned well, served well…

Andrey Rublev did not understand everything. Neither what he went through nor (even less) how he got away with it. No matter. Finally being on the right side of history will do him good. Even if it took him a good dose of success for that. And even if the result does not look easy, with Novak Djokovic on the horizon. A quarter-final, its glass ceiling in a Grand Slam. Djokovic, the man who almost never loses in Melbourne. He will see all that on Wednesday. Until then, each day is enough suffering for Rublev.

Andrey Rublev.

Credit: Imago

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