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February 17, 2021

Andrey Rublev

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-5, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What made Daniil so tough to beat today?

ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, first of all, Daniil was playing -- I mean, at least against me, if we take all the matches that I've played against him, today he played his best level. I don't know if it's in general for sure he could play even better, but against me today, I think was his best match out of I don't know how many times we've played, four times maybe. He was playing really well today, and he deserved to win because he was really better than me.

There was only two turning moments that I feel that could happen something different. It was 5-All first set that I had little chances that maybe if I would have broke him could be different story, and second set 3-All, the break point that I had could change also. I might win second set if I would break him that time because I had an easy, easy ball to finish and I didn't make it, but it's tennis.

And then he was playing really -- in all the moments he was playing much better than me, and that's it. Simple.

Q. The whole trip to Australia has been very successful after your year last year in the ATP Cup success. You must be pleased overall.

ANDREY RUBLEV: Yeah, of course in my case it's really success because even if we take last year, I did here fourth round, this year I did quarters. Plus last year I start good with the ATP Cup, or ATP Cup with two titles, but this year I win ATP Cup, and then I took also a lot of points, which put me in a good position at the beginning of the year. We'll see. It's the beginning of the season, so it's going to be a long, long season, and I hope I can show great level, not only now but for the rest of the season.

Q. Novak Djokovic last night talked about the difficulty for the players, the quarantine arrangements for the rest of the year. Do you have a view of what maybe the players can expect to go through this year and what would be the best result for the amount of tournaments they play?

ANDREY RUBLEV: I don't really understand.

Q. He indicated it's very hard to play with the quarantine around you that exists everywhere this year and that it might be worth playing tournaments in a bubble.

ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, but here I think it was a bit different because we spent here two weeks quarantine, but then we had normal life. We were able to go out. We were able to have a normal life. For example, if we do bubble, then we don't need to do quarantine because we just stay hotel and club. So I think it's just what the ATP will decide. Depends I think on the conditions, how the situation in the world. So that's it. I think we will adapt.

Q. How was today's game for you, and how much did your personal relationship or your history with him factor into your mindset going into the game?

ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, mentally it was of course tough because you feel always that you cannot lose focus because as soon as you will lose focus, it's going to be over. Like I said, I feel today he was much better than me. I mean, not maybe much better but he was better because then he beat me in straight sets. The only two chances I had, it's 5-All first set and 3-All second set, and that's it.

But still, I don't know even if I would make it. Okay, maybe I win one set and then I'm still going to lose the match. I cannot say that this was like a turning point or something. I just had two chances that I didn't make today, but it's tennis; it's part of it.

Q. Is it a goal of yours moving forward to beat him in the future, and do you think you can do that?

ANDREY RUBLEV: I mean, it's not a goal, but for sure I think it will happen. We're going to play I hope for many, many years, so at least once I think I will have a chance (laughing). Because every time I play him -- at the US Open I had chances; I had set points. Here I had break points. And then one day it's going to be my day.

Q. How difficult is it to find the right balance playing-wise against Daniil because you can attack and he's always defending so well, but if you don't attack as much he steps in right away and attacks you. How difficult of a challenge does he pose with that style?

ANDREY RUBLEV: Yeah, that's why it's tough in a way that you need to be focused 100 percent every point, because as soon as you relax or something, then he will use this opportunity. That's why it's important always, even if I'm not attacking, because maybe he take advantage and he start to attack, still to try to bring all the balls back, because there for him it's also not easy. I'm not the only one who's suffering; he's also suffering because in the end for him it's tough to be always the one who needs to attack and then suddenly again to defend. So in the end both of us is suffering. So in the end it's just to keep focus because in some games I was doing a bit mistakes too early, maybe with one shot, two shots was out, even playing rally.

Q. You've played four Grand Slam quarterfinals but you couldn't win one set. Do you feel extra pressure in that round?

ANDREY RUBLEV: No. I don't know what to say. No. I mean, it's just -- the first time I was a kid, so there was not even match against Rafa.

The second time I had set points from a tiebreak but I didn't make it. It happens.

The same thing with Stefanos. I was trying to win a set and I didn't make it because I get a bit tight, but it's a part of it. Even when I'm playing quarterfinals or something sometimes I'm up with a break and then I'm losing my serve. This is normal.

Also today was a few chances and I didn't make it. Maybe next tournament is going to be the same story in the semifinal or the same story in the first round and I will lose first round. So it's not only about quarterfinal.

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