Andrey Rublev has expressed his wish to keep politics away from sport after reaching the second round of the Citi Open on Tuesday, beating Jack Draper in straight sets.
Rublev, 24, has recently been a victim of sports politics. He and other Russian and Belarusian athletes were barred from competing at Wimbledon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. As a result, this year’s championships were without ranking points, which impacted many players – notably Novak Djokovic – who dropped a few spots despite successfully defending his title.
Meanwhile, the top-seeded Rublev started his North American campaign with a win in DC.
During his press conference, Rublev said that politics has always been an integral part of sport. However, he hopes tennis – being a global sport – will take the lead and show other sports that sport, in general, can be kept out of politics.
“I think politics has always (been there) in sports,” Rublev said. “Everybody knows that. But I believe that by being united and doing good things for peace, tennis can be… an example, maybe other sports will follow, and in general, maybe one day sport can be without politics.”
Rublev believes tennis can be something of a trailblazer, as it is played in many countries and by players from many parts of the world.
“I believe that tennis can be without politics, because tennis is something independent. I think it’s one of the few sports that is independent from the rest of sports. We have players from all over. We play in all countries…. We travel all over the world…. I think tennis has a good chance of being outside of politics, because, yes, we have all nations (who play )”, did he declare.
Rublev will face the winner of the match between Jack Sock and Maxime Cressy in the second round on Wednesday.
“I have a good history with DC” – Andrey Rublev
Andrey Rublev has fond memories of the Citi Open, having made his first ATP 500 semi-final at the tournament four years ago.
Making his tournament debut, the then 46th-ranked Russian won three matches to reach the last four, losing to Alex de Minaur. A year later, however, Rublev fell in the opening hurdle at DC, after injury from Hamburg.
After his victory over Draper on Tuesday, Rublev recalled reaching his first ATP 500 semi-final in DC and how he played through injury a year later.
“I have a good history with DC, because when I first played here, in 2018, it was my very first semi-final at the ATP 500 level. So that was a special moment for me. Then when I came in 2019, the last time, I wasn’t going through an easy time, because I was just coming out of an injury. Everyone was playing telling me not to play. I say, no, I want to play because how much I love Washington.”
Andrey Rublev will be looking to claim his fourth title of the year this week, having won Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade.