The “Scary Movie” in Andrey Rublev’s mind: it’s quarterfinals time
With his tongue out and shaking his head from side to side. Eyes closed. Andrey Rublev’s celebration was an adrenaline rush.
It was the end of the roller coaster ride, after that he went on to exhaustion and the desire to want to go to sleep. But first, the contract says that a TV interview is a must, and why not, a good moment to remember the “stupid” cinema of the early 2000s.
“You know what I remembered when I was doing the celebration? To that stupid movie, Scary Movie,” Rublev commented to Nick Kyrgios, in relation to a scene of the film that parodies the horror genre. The Australian had commented for Eurosport how his colleague won for the tenth time in his career a Grand Slam round of 16 match.
And again in the quarterfinals. For the second time in Australia, in addition to two in Paris, one in London and four in New York. A decent collection of defeats.
Rublev won a Masters 1000 and played three other finals in that category. He has five ATP 500 trophies and an Olympic gold medal; he has won team events – Davis Cup and ATP Cup – and, with the victory against Alex De Miñaur and the Australian crowd, he reached 300 ATP wins.
His aggressive game that took him to the top five in the world contrasts with his big obstacle in his head. Rublev himself explained it in an interview with CLAY just over a year ago: “I have known my weaknesses for many years. For me the mental sideis the most difficult. I easily improve the technical or physical aspect… It’s because of the way I am. I’m very emotional and I take everything very personally when it comes to something important to me.”
He expressed candidly in 2023 to The Guardian that the long accumulation of quarterfinal defeats in major tournaments were ultimately his fault. “I felt I had chances to be in semis, but I couldn’t handle the pressure. I couldn’t play through my emotions. I was totally tight and full of negativities,” confessed the 26-year-old tennis player.
Perhaps Andrey Rublev thinks about how many players inferior in wins, titles and ranking have already played semifinals in a major tournament. How many with less powerful strokes, more restricted agility and more limited serve game have sneaked into the forbidden instance for the Russian?
How many players with indisputably “worse” career than Rublev’s tasted something he did not? To name a few of the active ones: Shelton, Khachanov, Paul, Norrie, Tiafoe, Cecchinato or Schwartzman
If someone reproaches him for his performance in Grand Slams he can say that there is no surface on which he has not excelled and that he is a member of the Last Eight Club in all major tennis capitals.
He will have one more chance in Melbourne to break his curse. Although, as most of the time, it will be against an opponent who is a favorite: the Italian Jannik Sinner is the only player who has not lost a set in Australia. He arrives fresh and strong, and after winning the Davis Cup last month with a victory over Novak Djokovic included, it seems that this is his moment.
He was asked early in the tournament if he felt confident enough to break the quarter finals curse. Smiling, Rublev answered with that mix of honesty, humor and irony that characterizes him so much: “Maybe I’m going to break it in the opposite way… not even to arrive.”