Rublev: ‘I Can Still Improve On Grass’

Andrey Rublev believes he can still vastly improve on the grass after he defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the NOVENTIOPEN semi-finals in Halle on Friday.

Rublev, who is currently No. 7 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, has a 13-8 career record on the surface, but had only won four ATP Tour main draw matches on grass prior to this run this week.  

“I have adapted to the grass, but there are so many things I can still improve on the grass. For example, with the slice, the volley, and moving better,” Rublev said. “Also, defending on grass, because it is different, you can’t defend with high balls like on clay, so I think I am still far away.

“In general, though, because my game is to play aggressively. If you play aggressive, this helps you a lot on grass, so I think my game for this surface is ok. Philipp Kohlschreiber is good on this surface, so this match has given me confidence.”

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The fourth-seeded Russian is now 28-2 at ATP 500 tournaments since the ATP Tour resumed from the COVID-19 suspension in August 2020. However, Rublev lost in the first round to Jan-Lennard Struff at Roland Garros but insists his focus is now on the semi-finals in Halle. He was pleased with his performance on Friday.

“The past is the past; I can’t change it. I would have liked to have great results in Paris, but I played a tough opponent in Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round. Now I try to focus on the grass with Halle, where I am in the semi-finals and trying to do my best,” Rublev said.

“I think I was playing really well today. I was feeling the ball well, I was confident in my shots and my serve. In the tie-break, he had a mini-break and had good chances but straight away I told myself to just keep playing and fighting, and in the end, I somehow managed to turn it around. It will be a tough task against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the semi-finals as he hits the ball flat on the grass.”

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Moving his focus to Wimbledon, while the Russian feels that the news that Rafael Nadal will not compete at the Grand Slam will help him, Rublev is still wary of the other names in the draw.

“Of course, for the players like me, with Rafael Nadal not playing, it is a big advantage for me as I am going to be a higher seed now,” Rublev admitted. “But there are so many guys that are really tough to play on grass. For example, imagine having Struff in the first round of Wimbledon or Nick Kyrigos. On grass, it is so tough to play players who serve well so who knows.”