‘This is the one Novak Djokovic would want to play’, says former ATP ace

Andrey Rublev became the fifth individual player to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from November 14 to 21, following the publication of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna draw on Saturday. “I am very happy to compete again among the eight best players in the world,” Rublev said. “It is a unique and prestigious tournament, so I am looking forward to playing in Turin” The Russian star, who has reached the best position of him as No. 5 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in September, he claimed his eighth ATP Tour title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Fucsovics) in March. The Moscow player reached his first two ATP Masters 1000 finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. vs. Tsitsipas) in April and at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Zverev) in August. Rublev has accumulated a record of 47-18 in the 2021 season, including an eight-game winning streak to open the season. During that period, he went 4-0 in singles to help Russia win the ATP Cup in February. The Russian debuted at the Nitto ATP Finals last season, when the event was held at The O2 in London. He was 1-2 in the group stage, beating two-time finalist Dominic Thiem. It remains to be seen what he is capable of in this edition, in which he is already established in the elite of world tennis. Rublev follows in the footsteps of four former Nitto ATP Finals champions on the Turin roster: No. 1 Novak Djokovic, compatriot and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and German Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic hasn’t always been a fan favorite

Former World No. 74 Nicolas Pereira also chimed in with his two cents on the matter, while speaking alongside Tracy Austin on Tennis Channel. Pereira asserted that getting vaccinated is a “personal decision”, before pointing out that Novak Djokovic rarely makes a hasty decision when it concerns his health. “Well, it’s a very personal decision and we know how Novak Djokovic feels about his health. He’s been very picky and it’s paid off for him,” Nicolas Pereira said. “But having won nine times in Australia, (you) would think this is the one he would want to play.” Former World No.1 highlighted that quarantine would be tougher to digest for unvaccinated players, given that vaccinated players wouldn’t have the same restrictions. “He’s (Novak Djokovic) spoken out adamantly that he does not want to get vaccinated,” Austin said. “I guess you would still have the opportunity to go over there and quarantine. I mean that’s gonna be very tough this year because 2021 everyone was in quarantine, but now the players that have gotten vaccinated wouldn’t have to spend time there.”