Athletistic / Tennis. The ATP Tour always has its own bad boy who stands out on the court with his emotional behavior. In the 1980s, it was the American John McEnroe. Many exceptional tennis players could then be described as such, including the Russian Marat Safin. In the mid-2000s of the 21st century, world tennis became a little bland against the backdrop of the confrontation between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federar. Only occasionally could someone break a racket, argue with the judges and respond to the rude shouts of fans coming from the stands. But now everything has changed.

For several years, the main “villain” of world tennis was the Australian Nick Kyrgios. He is even more known for his antics than for his results. For a year and a half he has suffered from injuries and has hardly played. It would seem that now everything on the ATP tour should again be civilized and decent, but Kyrgios has found a worthy replacement. And not even alone.

Russian Andrey Rublev and Kazakh Alexander Bublik are two very emotional tennis players. Interestingly, the two tennis players are the same age and have crossed paths several times at various children’s tournaments, being good friends at the very least.

Photo source: personal archive of Andrey Rublev

But back to their burning nerves. During the season, both break several dozen rackets, often shout obscenities after unsuccessful exchanges or can even argue with the judges. Therefore, few people were surprised that on March 1, a scandal occurred during their head-to-head match in the semifinals of the ATP-500 tournament in Dubai (UAE). Rublev received the main role in this scandal, which resulted in the Russian’s disqualification from the tournament. However, this is not the first scandalous moment in the confrontation between Andrei and Alexander.

In June 2023, emotions became the main factor in Rublev’s defeat in the final of the tournament in Hall (Germany). His opponent in the decisive match of the competition was Bublik. Alexander’s ruse infuriated Rublev and completely threw him off balance.

The first set ended with Bublik winning with a score of 6:3. In the second match, Rublev began to correct the situation by adding speed. The result is 6:3, but now in favor of the Russian. The deciding set began with a serve from Bublik, who confidently left the first game of the third set behind. And then the concert began… Alexander, being a much less experienced tennis player, decided to use trickery and tried to confuse Rublev. For this he did not need to invent anything supernatural. Every time he received the ball, he shouted “Yes!” » and sent the ball to Andrei’s side.

Photo source: ATP

This made Rublev very angry, so he turned to the judges with a request to punish his opponent for shouting under his arm. However, the judge and supervisor ignored Rublev’s claims. As a result, Andrei could not cope with his nerves, lost the match on serve and swam further. The Russian aggressively waved his racket in the air after each controversial moment, and also launched into verbal tirades after unsuccessful games.

Interestingly, the majority of fans were on Rublev’s side and trying to convey positive energy to him. They cheered the Russian and whistled Bublik, but they failed to move Andrei forward. The Russian then succumbed to his opponent’s provocation and failed to control his nerves. As a result, Bublik won the deciding set with a score of 6:3 and won the second trophy in his professional career.

Andrei Rublev’s tennis attracts the attention of fans with its sincerity and emotionality. Andrei is truly one of the leading talents of the generation, but he still lacks something to reach at least the semi-finals of the Grand Slam tournament. Maybe it has something to do with self-control. Both in the story of the final in Hull and in the moment of disqualification in Dubai, it is quite possible that Andrei was initially a victim. However, giving in to emotions, he quickly transformed into a villain. I would like to believe that Rublev will find harmony with himself as soon as possible and make a qualitative leap in his career.

Nikita Serbakov, Athletistic