When you achieve a big milestone for the first time in anything that you accomplish, it is very special and it can be emotional, and it can be especially so if it is a big sporting achievement. To win an important and very prestigious title can bring the toughest individual to tears. Andrey Rublev, the 25-year-old Russian is very much enjoying those emotional moments.
Rublev was playing his third career final at an ATP Masters 1000 level and he was facing Holger Rune in his second final at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters, having lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2021 final. That same year he also lost the final in Cincinnati to Alexander Rublev his good friend from junior days.
Now the name Andrey Rublev is on the honour board at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club the venue that commands one of the most spectacular locations and views in the sports world. The MCCC, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 1928, sits part of the way up a cliff and looks out to the Mediterranean Sea, and on this particular Sunday, while a bit humid, it was picture perfect as it was sunny without a cloud in the sky and the sea was a stunning deep blue.
Rublev certainly highlighted the fact that a match is not over till the umpire calls "game, set, match". He was in a near desperate position in the final set against Holger Rune who was trying to be just the fifth teenager in the last 40 years to win the Rolex Monte Carlos Masters.
The 19-year-old opened up a 4-1 lead in the final set and had a break point for 5-1, but Rune who received treatment from the physio in the final set for potential cramps played some loose points. In the seventh game he double faulted twice and on break back point Rublev powered a backhand down the line for a winner.
"Great. Great feeling. Like I was saying after struggling so much, so many times, losing in the finals, semi-finals, losing even earlier, yeah, struggled so much to win first 1000 Masters and finally I did it. I did it in Monaco with the really historic tournament. It's a pleasure to be part of it," Rublev said.
"I have tears and I don't know what to say to be honest. I don't know. I am just happy, finally. Have been struggling so much to win this Masters 1000 tournament. Finally losing 4-1, Love-30, saving break points, thinking there is no chance to win, and somehow, I did it.
"I was hoping deep inside that at least maybe I would have one chance. Maybe at least try to play until the end. Because I remember the previous finals, mentally I was not ready and when I was thinking no chance to win anymore, and I was going mentally completely down.
"Today I was at least, âOkay, if you're going to lose today at least please believe until the end', and that is what I was trying to do in the third set, hoping that maybe I would have one extra chance to come back or something and, in the end, I was able to do it."
In the eleventh game Rune played two sloppy overheads which he put into the net and that helped Rublev to break. He served out the final on his second championship point and collapsed to the red clay could with his hands covering his face. And that's when he had those tears.
"It is what it is; I gave it all. Didn't have any more in me," Rune said. "I did what I could, and I was very close. I was definitely in control in the third set and also, I would say mostly in the first set as well. But again, didn't manage to close it out.
"Disappointing, but again, it's part of tennis. Just got to see what I did wrong, what I can do better, and move on, because, you know, the most important tournament of the clay season is the French Open, so, you know, if I can prepare myself as best as possible for that one, that's what matters."
The doubles title went to fifth seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek who defeated wild cards Romain Arneodo and Sam Weissborn in a first-time meeting 6-0, 4-6, 14/12.