Top gun Andrey Rublev has qualified for the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals for the first time after he captured an ATP Tour-best fifth title in 2020 on Sunday at the Erste Bank Open title in Vienna. The Russian, who is the seventh singles player to secure his spot, will join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, compatriot Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.
The 23-year-old Rublev is the fifth Russian singles player to qualify in the 50-year history of the Nitto ATP Finals, following in the footsteps of 1997 runner-up Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1995-2001), Marat Safin (2000, ’02, ’04), 2009 champion Nikolay Davydenko (2005-09) and Medvedev (2019-20). Russia is the only country with two singles qualifiers in the 2020 field.
“Of course, it’s an amazing feeling. [I’m excited] to play the last year in London, to see the stage and to feel this atmosphere,” Rublev said. “It’s an amazing feeling to play there in the last year [at The O2], so I will do my best there and we’ll see. It’s going to be a great experience for me to see what I need to improve to be able to compete with the top eight players. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Russian has enjoyed a career-best season in 2020, lifting an ATP Tour-best five trophies. Rublev started the year by becoming the first man since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004 to win two trophies in the first two weeks of the season, lifting silverware at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha and the Adelaide International in January. He has also won three ATP 500 titles at the Hamburg European Open in September, the St. Petersburg Open last month, and in Vienna. In Grand Slam play, Rublev rallied from 0-2 sets down for the first time in his career to defeat Sam Querrey en route to the Roland Garros quarter-finals and reached the last eight at the US Open for a second time.
Having started a reduced 2020, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, at No. 23 in the ATP Rankings, Rublev broke into the Top 10 for the first time on 12 October. He attained a career-high of No. 8 on 19 October and currently has a 39-7 match record. Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last month, is next in line to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals at No. 9 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, with just two tournaments — the Rolex Paris Masters and the Sofia Open — left in the regular ATP Tour season.