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November 6, 2018

Andrey Rublev

Fiera Milano, Italy

A. RUBLEV/T. Fritz

4-2, 1-4, 3-4, 4-3, 4-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us how different it is from last year, if it's exactly the same or you are more used to it somehow or not?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Couple of things are different. Last year, for sure, on Sunday they were done with the courts, of building it. And this year, even this morning they were still doing something, finishing.

And the court is completely different compared to last year. It's much -- I mean, double -- faster double than last year. And that's the -- yeah. All the rest is the same. Same hotel. Same food, yeah, which is good.

I think transportation is a little bit better than last year. I mean, yeah, it's better, but sometimes they forget the way. But all the rest, yeah. Now at least we have car anytime we want. So there is some improvements.

Q. What was your reaction about the towel? Because Tsitsipas was complaining about the fact that he has to think where to go and pick up the towel quickly.
ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, I was okay with that. If they put this rule, I was okay.

The only thing I was struggling is when it was changeover, I was walking almost to the half court till I realized that I forget the towel and I need to come back. And after I think the third set, I forgot completely the towel, and I went out from the court and they make me come back all the way to pick it up.

So I think you can find a balance. I mean, in this case, it's not going to happen, nothing, even if line umpire or someone is going to just put it on the back or something. And all the rest is fine.

Q. A little bit about the on-court coaching. Do you like that? Is it distracting? How does it work for you?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I think it's little bit not real. It's more for the people who are watching just to see the talk between player and coach. Because in my opinion, it's a little bit not real.

I mean, not in my case but in other case, coach and player, they need to speak English when there's different language. That's the first reason. Then, second reason, most of the coaches, especially mine for sure, he's trying to find the words to be just simple because he cannot in the end say all the truth because it's not only between us. Maybe if other coach can hear, then he can make some notes for the next match that will help him a lot.

And so in the end, my coach, for sure, he just say simple things that is in the end make no change. Is the same just if I look at his face and he will clap the hands or just show me, "Come on."

So then is little bit not true in my opinion. It's just more for the people who's watching or listening.

Q. All the statistics that are coming up in the changeover, is that distracting to you as players?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I try to open in the first set. It was not working. Then I open in the end of the first set and the stats for sure was not the same. Like, it was -- because I look at his serve, where he was serving, and they were showing that he served two aces with a second serve, which was not real because he didn't do that.

And then I see good stats and, since that time, I didn't even open.

Q. So would you prefer coaching like in the WTA tour like with the coach coming?
ANDREY RUBLEV: It's the same, I think, with the hands.

Q. No. I mean, without.
ANDREY RUBLEV: No, but it's the same. Everyone can listen what you talk about.

Q. If you like -- if you could like the coaching like in the WTA tour, that kind of thing.
ANDREY RUBLEV: I don't know. For me, it's the same with the headphones or --

Q. No. Without the headphones.
ANDREY RUBLEV: I understand. But I'm saying is the -- I'm saying that if he go on court and talk to me and everyone can listen, it's the same. Because the WTA, when the coach is coming on the court, everyone can listen what you are saying. So in the end, it's the same. Or you put headphones and you see your coach five meters away and he is telling and everyone can listen.

So in the end -- if you ask a question if no one can listen, yes, it's better. But if anyone can listen, in the end it's the same. In my case, it's not going to be real.

Q. With the year you've had with injuries and things, how do you feel? How is your back feeling and what is it like to be at the Next Gen finals.
ANDREY RUBLEV: The back finally, I hope, is good. I mean, I didn't do the last tests because I was feeling good. I had no pain. And I said, no, I don't want to stress myself. Because you going to find something little, you going to start me again. So I feel no pain since I start to play tennis. I feel zero pain until now. So hopefully everything is okay.

Yeah, and happy to be back in Italy for the Next Gen. I was missing the atmosphere and support. I have good memories from last year, so I was missing.

Q. And what is it like with all the kids that are here? It's a really exciting sort of atmosphere. Do you notice that while you're on court?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I think today was a little bit more crazy than last year because the kids were almost jumping when we were after the match walking to the tennis TV press.

But there was, I think, a little bit noisy more. Last year was more quiet. Today, the kids, they were running a lot on the sides from one side to another side.

But it's okay. In the end, you adapt fast.

Q. Did you speak with Karen Khachanov in the last days?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Yeah, he text me after the match. I text him when he won the Paris. We spoke with him, and he was -- I think I never see him hyper like this. And I feel happy for him the way he finished the season. I think he didn't expect that he will go for London. So I think he's really happy now.

Q. Is this an inspiration for you?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I don't know. From my side, I feel real happy because I spend a lot of time with him, and I know how he want it. And I know that last year was really tough for him.

And I feel that because I spend a lot of time with him, I feel that if he can win these tournaments, he's beating top players, that I have also all these chances. Like, it's given me a little bit more confidence, I think, yeah. The way this tournament that he won, I think it's given me confidence.

Q. Do you have the feeling that in Russia the win of Khachanov was a great, great story or there was enthusiasm or so-so?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, the thing is, in Russia in general, the sports are not that -- people are not that into the sports.

I don't know. It's the question that I don't know about this, I think. But it's not the same like in Europe or America where all the sports are big. In Russia, it's a little bit different.

But the people who knows, of course it was really big because it was -- in the end, the stadium was full, full of crowd, because they support -- they like -- the Russian people, they like to support Russian, upcoming guys.

And I think it was really good for him because it was the last year on this old, like, with a big-history stadium and he won it. So it was little bit double big. Like he put big dot, you know, in the end of the story of this tournament. So, yeah, that's it.

Q. How did you find the quick scoring? I know you played last year, but the first of four games and sudden death deuce?
ANDREY RUBLEV: Like I said always that I'm not a big fan of these rules. I think it's a little bit not fair because, in the end, everything make no sense. It's not the same physical. You don't need to use that much -- you don't need to be strong. Even if you play so you don't feel nothing today and the other guy is playing so good, you still can win the match, which is not happening normally when you play the real match. And I think this is little bit not fair because the other guys, they have little more chances to win always.

Look, for example, the match today of Tsitsipas that make amazing season beating top players, and now -- I'm not saying nothing bad about Munar.

But he's top 15 and Munar is, I think, 18, 19 in the world, which looks like normally Tsitsipas supposed to win, like, not easy but with confidence, and the match was so close. It was just a few points that change everything. Three sets on a tie-break, and it was -- like, you don't see the difference between the players. Looks like both of them playing amazing. I mean, of course both of them playing amazing, but you know what I try to mean.

Q. Just luck sometimes you think? I mean, luck is more important here than anywhere else?
ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, I think it's luck plus the way you focus. Because if you lose little bit focus, for sure it can cost you a lot. Like, I lost just little bit focus after the first set, and straight I lost my serve on the first game of the second set. That's it.

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