He’s taking chances and making changes: Andrey Rublev has been one of the world’s top tennis players for years, but now he is pushing the boundaries like never before: First, he revamped his team, then clinched his first Masters title, and on top of that, he dared to delve into the fashion business. We had the opportunity to meet the tennis star at the Hamburg European Open and discuss with him the transformative impact of his new coaching alliance and his exciting foray into fashion with his brand ‘Rublo’…
After winning the title in Båstad, in your winner’s speech, you specifically thanked your second coach, Alberto ‘Beto’ Martín, who is new to your team. When and why did you decide to add him to your team, and how does he help you to improve as a player?
To be honest, it happened suddenly. I did not plan anything. At the end of last year, I was thinking that the coaches this season would be the same as before – Abraham (Gonzalez – ed. note) and Fernando (Vicente – ed. Note). Then later on in December, Abraham told me that he decided to try working with a professional player as the main coach, as it would be a step ahead for him. I said, ‘O.k., I completely respect this move, and of course, you have to do whatever is better for you.’ So we ended up thinking about who could be another coach. Fernando suggested Beto, as they have known each other since they were kids. They used to play together, and they are really good friends. Then I met with Beto, and I liked him a lot. On top of that, he was also a top 30 player, winning ATP titles, and he had experienced situations in his life that made him know how to explain some things in a different way, which is easier for me to understand. So now it’s an amazing mix between Fer and him. It’s perfect!
“I met with Beto, and I liked him a lot. On top of that, he was also a top 30 player, winning ATP titles, and he had experienced situations in his life that made him know how to explain some things in a different way.”Andrey Rublev
What aspects of your game were you particularly working on in the last months with Alberto – more the technical or the mental part?
I would say more the mental part because he has a diploma in sports psychology. So, he focused on taking care of the mental aspect, and if he noticed anything I can improve in my game, he would also tell me.
What is the best advice he has given to you so far?
There isn’t really one specific advice; it rather depends on the situation. For example, if I’m not feeling my backhand today, he just tries to tell me what I can do better in order to make me feel a bit more comfortable with my backhand. Or if I’m not serving well, he gives me some advice on what he sees I am doing wrong, so that I can serve better.
Besides Alberto Martín, you have other new members on your team: your fitness coach, Marcos Borderias, and physiotherapist, Carlos Costa. What special impact do these two have on you?
I would say Marcos is a really, really hard worker. He always studies and wants to improve. He is super motivated, and the way he works with me involves doing very different things compared to other fitness coaches. I feel that the exercises and training we are doing to improve my fitness suit me well. The same goes for Charlie! It doesn’t matter if it’s super late or super early; he is always ready to do a treatment. That’s very important, especially when you have long matches and finish late, you sometimes also need to have really long treatments. So it can be tough and he is doing really well!
⠀”The only thing I may need to reduce a bit is coffee.”⠀
Reportedly, you recently sought advice on nutrition from Spanish nutritionist Antonia Lizarraga, who also heads FC Barcelona’s Sports Nutrition area. What advice did she give you, and did you have to change your daily diet?
No, for the moment, I’m just taking supplements. I try not to eat bad things, especially when I’m at tournaments, but I do eat what I am eating. We also did many tests, and fortunately, I can eat everything. I don’t have any intolerance. The only thing I may need to reduce a bit is coffee.
Besides your new team members, there has been another change this year. You are playing in your own clothing brand, ‘Rublo’. How did you come up with the idea?
Actually, it came into my head a long, long time ago. When I had a moment, I started thinking that maybe it would be better to do it now while I’m still playing tennis. If I try to do it after I finish my career, then maybe no one will care. So, at least now I can play in the clothes. That’s why I decided to give it a try – at least for my peace of mind. If nothing happens, at least I know that I did it. If something happens and it goes well – perfect!
Will the clothes be available for sale one day?
Yes, they will be, and the first launch should have already happened earlier. However, there is a problem with some legal matters that we need to resolve, like connecting the business account with the website. It is not difficult, but it just takes time. So, it’s almost there, and hopefully, in the upcoming weeks, it will be done.
Photo: © IMAGO / Mathilda Ahlberg | Bildbyran, © IMAGO / James Gourley | Shutterstock