Muscovite Rublev eager to play the Queen's Gambit in tennis

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on March 15, 2021
Andrey Rublev guns for a fifth ATP title in a row at the ongoing Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. (Twitter)

Chess can help tennis, maybe strategy wise. It helps you to be more patient, Rublev said

Hailing from Russia, it is but natural that chess is synonymous with Andrey Rublev and the Muscovite is using the sport of rooks and knights, and of course, the queen, to help him in his tennis career.

The 23-year-old is one of the rising stars in men’s tennis and is currently ranked No.8 in the world. And Rublev is also hoping that he can use that to good effect as he guns for a fifth ATP title in a row at the ongoing Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Seeded second, Rublev received a bye in the first round and will take on Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round, on Centre Court of the Aviation Club Tennis Centre on Tuesday.

“Chess can help tennis, maybe strategy wise. It helps you to be more patient,” Rublev said during a virtual interaction on Monday.

“In my case, I’m playing chess the same way as tennis. I try to take a queen to lead the match, so, like in tennis, I try to take the forehand and try to be the one who is dictating,” added the avid chess follower.

This is Rublev's second appearance in Dubai after he had lost to unseeded Briton Dan Evans in straight sets, in the quarterfinals last year.

Rublev revealed that the surface here doesn’t suit his style of play but said he will try his best to overcome that.

“First of all, I’m happy to be back here. It is always tough conditions, here. It is tough to play here because the ball flies much more and with my style of game, it is not easy to play. It is going to be a great challenge for me to see if I can find other ways to be able to win matches. I have nothing to lose because, like I said, the conditions are not really for my style of the game. I will try to do my best and we will see what’s going to happen,” he elaborated.

Talking about his streak, where he won at Hamburg, St.Petersburg, Vienna and Rotterdam, Rublev laughed and said: “I mean, I didn’t plan it, it just happened that I won these tournaments.”

“But I’m happy because in the end, it is always a special feeling to win a tournament and it doesn’t matter which one it is. I’m delighted that it is happening to me now. Till the middle of the tournament in Rotterdam, I wasn’t even thinking about it or counting as I was losing every week before.”

Rublev is also hoping to follow in the footsteps of his idol Spaniard Rafael Nadal and do well on clay at Roland Garros.

“I would like to show great results on clay because I like this surface and I did pretty well last year because out of three tournaments, I won one title and I made it to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. So, for sure, I would like to do my best there,” said Rublev, who made the last eight at the French Open last year, and the Australian Open this year.

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