10 Oct 2017

Rublev reflects on 'great experience' at Junior Masters

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerAndrey Rublev (RUS)

For Andrey Rublev, the inaugural ITF Junior Masters in 2015 marked a transitional moment in his career.

A fortnight in April 2015 that had begun with his first match-win at a Masters-1000 event in Miami - where he stunned Pablo Carreno Busta to truly announce his arrival on the professional tour - ended with one of his biggest junior triumphs in Chengdu.

Rublev defeated USA’s Taylor Fritz 67 63 64 in a captivating final in the Chinese city and, two years on, the 19-year-old reflects on the ITF Junior Masters as a memorable moment in his early career.

“It was a great experience,” said the Russian. “When I played there it was the first year of the tournament so everything was new for everybody. It was really great that I won this tournament first.

“[The organisers] were trying to do it as professional as possible and I think it was a really great tournament with great organisation. They took us to do so much stuff – to a zoo to see the pandas; they did lots of fun stuff. The stadium was really big and they were trying to invite a lot of people to watch our matches. It was great memories.”

The ITF Junior Masters was launched in 2015 as a showpiece tournament that would prepare young players for life on the professional tour and all that it entails, red carpet treatment included – and it certainly delivered on that front according to Rublev.

“The hotel was amazing. My room was really big with a really big bed,” remembers the Russian. “The courts were just 10 metres away – you could practice as much as you want. The courts were good quality. They had one big stadium and two little small stadiums which were also quite big. It was good!"

The Junior Masters took place in April in the event’s first two years, but this year’s event will take place later this month – on 25-29 October – a change which has Rublev’s full support.

“In my opinion, to make it at the end of the year is better for the players - it’s going to be kind of like the ATP (World Tour Finals). It’s going to be the same kind of thing for the juniors,” said the world No. 35.

“They will have good memories for the future,” Rublev added of those with the chance to take part this year. “It’s not the same feeling as to play the ATP [Word Tour Finals] in London… but it’s going to be more or less similar feelings, because you are one of the Top 8 best juniors and you’ll have a good time, you’ll feel the emotions, feel the atmosphere. I think it’s great.”