Andrey Rublev accused of ‘losing his mind’ during stunning ATP Finals meltdown
Andrey Rublev has been accused of ‘losing his mind’ in defeat to Carlos Alcaraz at the ATP Finals – and it’s because he’s not quite good enough to beat the best players.
Rublev cut an incredibly frustrated figure during his 7-5, 6-2 defeat to Alcaraz, who registered his first ever win in the competition.
It was Rublev’s behaviour that was the real talking point, though. He was seen gesturing in disbelief after misjudging one particular shot, but that was nothing compared to what was to come.
In a rage with himself, the Russian repeatedly beat himself with his own racket, hitting it against his own legs.
“Rublev lost his mind,” said Amazon Prime analyst and former world number four Greg Rusedski. “He went absolutely fruit and nuts.
“The ball was called out at one point and he just couldn’t believe it. It’s insanity, let’s be honest here. You can cause yourself a serious injury by hitting your kneecap like he did. He was lucky just to draw blood.”
Rublev appears to have hit a ceiling in his career which sees him consistently positioned in the world top ten but unable to really trouble the best in the world.
And that, according to Rusedski, is the real source of his apparently maddening frustration.
“The good news is he didn’t injure himself, but he has to change that behaviour,” he said. “He is so desperate to win and doesn’t find a balance out there.
“His A-game is not good enough against someone who has more variety. He is trying to add the transition of coming forward and using the drop shot. He needs that to beat players like Alcaraz.
“If he doesn’t do that, he will be consistently in the top eight, but he won’t get to semi-finals, finals or win majors.
Non vraiment calmez Andrey Rublev il va se décapiter sur le court un jour pic.twitter.com/Xk2diQqLEE
— Ax (@lymphazZ) November 15, 2023
“When you don’t have options in your game, it is easier to lose it. If Rublev took a risk on his second serve and lost today, who cares? Rublev has the firepower, but he doesn’t go for it at the big moments.
“If he has options A, B, C and D, he could open up mentally as it would give him options.”
Andrey Rublev ‘has had a great year’
Rusedski’s Amazon Prime colleague Tim Henman largely agreed that a lack of variety is ultimately holding back Rublev, and it could well be getting to him.
Rublev has been described as a ‘woodpecker’ by Jim Courier due to his propensity to repeatedly do what he does well until he wears down his opponent’s resistance to it.
That generally takes the form of peppering his opponent with powerful baseline groundstrokes.
It can bring results, as this year has shown. He won his maiden Masters title in Monte-Carlo and hit a (joint) career-high ranking of number five in the world last month.
For Henman, though, he still just doesn’t have quite enough in his game.
“He’s had a great year, winning a Masters 1000 event, but he needs to break through in the Slams and has lost nine quarter-finals,” he said. “I’m a fan, but he needs to control himself better.
“He can improve his second serve as it is too predictable and clearly he needs to control his temper. His passion and work ethic are undeniable, but he is almost trying too hard and putting too much pressure on himself.”
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