Rublev: Whatever I am today is because of my mom

Andrey Rublev, ranked 180 in the world, three places below Devvarman, already has some big scalps on his resume beating Fernando Verdasco in the Barcelona Open, Jarkko Nieminen in Geneva open and helping Russia beat tennis powerhouse Spain in a deciding match of a Davis Cup tie last year.

Andrey Rublev won 2014's junior French Open title.   -  R. Ragu

When Somdev Devvarman takes the stage on Tuesday as he begins to revive his career, he will have to face an 18-year old who has produced some big upsets since turning pro a year back. Andrey Rublev, ranked 180 in the world, three places below Devvarman, already has some big scalps on his resume beating Fernando Verdasco in the Barcelona Open, Jarkko Nieminen in Geneva open and helping Russia beat tennis powerhouse Spain in a deciding match of a Davis Cup tie last year.

On Monday, Rublev, son of a sporting couple - the senior Rublev, a professional boxer and mother Marina Marenko a tennis coach, was sharpening his serve and forehands under the watchful eyes of his coach and parents.

“I dont even remember how early I started tennis. Whatever I am today is because of my mom and she has taught me everything in tennis and still does,” says the 18-year old. Last year, he played a key role in helping Russia overturn a 0-2 deficit against Spain in its Group One Euro-African Zone second round tie that put Russians into the world cup play off.

Rublev defeated Pablo Andujar 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the fifth and deciding tie. “After Friday, we did not even think we had any chances. The guys won an amazing doubles match on Saturday and we got very lucky to win that tie.

“Also playing at home was much easy and gave more confidence in that match.”

Rublev, the 2014 junior French Open champion made his debut at a grand slam in the US Open last year where he lost to Kevin Anderson in the first round.

“It was big honour. I fought hard and had chances to win a set against a top player who went on to reached the quarterfinal and it was great experience for me.”

Ask about his goals for 2016, he responds with a cliché: “I want to be doing my thing and work hard. We will see what happens.”