Andrey Rublev has bitten back over calls for the younger generation to put up a bigger challenge to Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It’s now 13 Grand Slam events the ‘Big Three’ have won between them with Stan Wawrinka’s triumph at the 2016 US Open being the last time any other player won one of the big majors.
There has been growing pressure on the next generation of players to step up to take centre stage with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all the other side of 30.
Federer in particular will be 39 years old this year but is still competing at the highest level and reaching Grand Slam finals.
Players have come close in the past two Grand Slams with Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev pushing Djokovic and Nadal at the Australian Open and US Open respectively.
Thiem looks likely to be the player to make the breakthrough having reached three Grand Slam finals already but there are promising signs from the likes of Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
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Rublev, 22, is also one of the young talents looking to make waves on the men’s tour and made a strong start to 2020 with two ATP titles in Qatar and Adelaide.
He came up short this week at the Dubai Tennis Championships though, losing to British No 1 Dan Evans.
The Russian was asked about being compared to the best players in the game after his defeat.
But he took exception to the comparison, stating instead an aim to break through like Wawrinka may be more realistic.
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“I’m not Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, they are the best in history and I can’t compare with them,” Rublev said.
“Maybe you can ask some guys like Stan Wawrinka what we need to be more like them because he also won a couple of Grand Slams.”
For Evans though, it marks his first semi-final at an ATP 500 event as he bids to win his first career title.
He faces an even tougher test to reach the final though as he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas later today.
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Speaking about his win over Rublev though, the 29-year-old was happy with how his game came together.
“I just stayed in there and knew I’d get my chances. I’m very happy with the way I played,” Evans said.
“Staying calm is the key, also getting the right balance and being aggressive with my feet.
“I’m happy to come through and I’ll prepare for tomorrow.”
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