‘I always say Roger Federer is…’, says young star

Giving forecasts is always complicated, especially for the new season. Asked for a player to watch in 2020, 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer chose 22-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev to shine and achieve something special. The Swiss couldn’t be more right when he said that, as Rublev won the Tour leader with five ATP titles in 2020, backed by two Major quarter-finals and a place in the year’s Top 8 rankings. As for Federer’s prediction, Rublev said he was honored to hear such a thing from a legend, although he wasn’t convinced it would be so with so many young players in the top-30. Working hard and always giving his 100%, Andrey took his game to the next level, starting the season with back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide and continuing where he left off in the Davis Cup Finals in November 2019. Following the coronavirus outbreak, Rublev came back stronger in September 2020 and advanced to the US Open quarterfinals. The Muscovite came from behind against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Hamburg final, lifting the third trophy of the season and heading to Paris with no time for celebrations. Andrey prevailed in the first round at Roland Garros after trailing two loveless sets against Sam Querrey, and picked up three more wins to reach the quarterfinals of his second Major in a month. He lost that match to Stefanos Tsitsipas and shifted his focus to an indoor season. Rublev lifted trophies at home, in Moscow and Vienna, adding 1,000 points to his tally and securing a place in the top 10. Andrey made his ATP Finals debut against 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, losing in straight sets before another clash with Tsitsipas, who saved a match point in a 6-1 4-6 7-6 triumph. The Russian claimed his first ATP Finals win against Dominic Thiem, beating the US Open champion in straight sets to close the year with 41 ATP wins.

Federer is an example for everyone

Speaking about all things tennis during a recent interview with Daily China, Zheng lay special emphasis on her admiration for Roger Federer. “My idol was Roger Federer, I always say he’s amazing. When I was young, I often go in front of TV to watch his match,” Zheng said. “I’m watching a lot, Djokovic, and then of course Roger Federer, Nadal, all the best players,” Zheng had said. The teenager impressed earlier this year with a run to the second round at the Australian Open as a qualifier, where she lost to Maria Sakkari.