APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

‘This is the title I am most proud of,’ says Rublev after Madrid heroics

When Andrey Rublev touched down in Madrid, he had little reason to believe he would still be here two weeks later, standing with the champion’s trophy at the centre of Estadio Manolo Santana.

He was on a four-match losing streak, winless over a period of six weeks, and searching for the form that earned him a title in Hong Kong at the start of the year, and a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Then a few days into his stay in the Spanish capital, Rublev fell ill, developing a high fever, a sore throat that prevented him from swallowing properly, headaches, and inflammation in his foot and fingers that almost forced him out of the tournament.

With help from the medical staff of the Mutua Madrid Open, Rublev powered through his six matches, including a two-hour 48-minute final victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday, to lift the second Masters 1000 title of his career, his sixth on clay and 16th overall.

“No words. If you knew what I have been through the last nine days, you would not imagine that I would be able to win a title,” said an emotional Rublev after the final.

“I’m incredibly happy. Now will change everything, because now looks like I was not losing the last six weeks in the first rounds.”

Rublev paid tribute to the tournament doctors and his physio, Charly, during the trophy ceremony, and even the onsite restaurant for making sure he got the food he needed to try and recover faster.

“There were a few issues that I couldn’t fix but I have to give full credit to the doctors, they’re magicals,” said Rublev. “What they were doing, they were doing some tricky things, and somehow I was able to play. I’ve never seen this in my life, they’re the best so far on tour.”

Rublev’s run to the title has been nothing short of heroic, and it saw him knock out the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz before claiming his fifth win from six meetings with Auger-Aliassime.

“I would say this is the title I am most proud of in my career,” said the 26-year-old.

“It took everything, I was almost dead every day, I was not sleeping even at night. Last three, four days I didn’t sleep almost.”

In a lengthy on-court speech, Rublev made sure to thank everyone who has helped him this fortnight, but perhaps reserved the highest praise to his opponent, Auger-Aliassime, who seemed to be struggling physically during the third set of the final, and had his thigh massaged on almost every changeover.

“I know it’s very disappointing to lose the match like this, I know the feeling,” Rublev told the Canadian, who is the first man from his country to reach a Masters 1000 final on clay.  

“I’ve said this many times and I won’t be tired to say this again, you’re a true inspiration for me as a player, for the spectators, for the kids, how professional you are, how humble you are, how nice of a person you are.

“So I just want to wish you all the best, that you always have a great team around you, great people that you treat well for sure and they will treat you well as well and I hope you will have together many more success.”

Rublev also gave a shoutout to Mutua Madrid Open tournament director Feliciano Lopez, who has a close relationship with the No7 seed.

“I would like to say big thanks to Feli. I know we have a difference in age but we have a great connection together. We spend many times, many things on court, many things on tour, we spent time in the same house doing barbecues. Now we are here spending time in a trophy ceremony, so I guess you’re in my life forever,” said Rublev.

“We were team-mates, we were opponents in Davis Cup, for me I’m happy to see you doing really well, having an amazing family, amazing person, being here the director of one of the greatest tournaments. I’m happy to see you here and thank you so much for everything you’re doing.”

Rublev said he felt “happy” and “relieved” after the final and plans on getting himself checked at a hospital after being sick for nine days.

On the camera lens after the match, he scribbled the words: “Samadhi, now I’m free.”

Asked to elaborate in his press conference, Rublev said: “I was able to not think at all last couple of days, and I was able to stay focused only on tennis without thinking about anything else. So, I let myself completely free.”