The ATP couple of the year speaks Spanish with a Russian accent. Are Fernando Vicente, chosen by his colleagues for the Best coach award, and his ward Andrey Rublev (23), designated player with the greatest progression for his five titles (Doha, Adelaide, Hamburg, Saint Petersburg and Vienna) that led him to debut at the Masters and finish 2020 as number eight in the world. A couple who got together five years ago and are based in Barcelona.
Vicente won the voting names such as Gilles Cervara (Daniil Medvedev's coach), Nicolás Massú (Dominic Thiem's coach), Juan Ignacio Chela (Diego Schwartzman's coach) and Riccardo Piatti, who directs Jannik Sinner.
“Andrey is a machine,” praises ‘Fer’, former tennis player who won three titles on the circuit and became 29th in the world in 2000. At 43, he is the first Spaniard to win the award and succeeds Gilles Cervara. Rublev came into his hands almost five years ago, on the recommendation of Galo Blanco, his partner at the 4Slam Academy in Barcelona. that they direct with Jairo Velasco and that at that time was guiding another Russian, Karen Khachanov. “Rublev was in the United States, a little lost, and I had stopped training Marcel Granollers and had been a father … He told me about a young, projected, fast-paced and passionate guy who loved tennis. I was surprised at how well he hit the ball, but although he had been junior number one, he was very green “Remember the one in Benicarló.
This year, Rublev, who resides in Moscow but spends periods in Barcelona, started well, but the March break came. They alternated as they could trainings between Russia and Spain and focused on the physical. “It was like a triple preseason. We reinforced his back, where he suffered a stress fracture two years ago, the ability and coordination with other activities such as soccer-tennis or paddle tennis because it's a bit robotic… Difficult things to work with because during the year we are like nomads around the world ”, says Vicente, who knew how to take advantage of a desperate situation. “It has changed the way I look at tennis,” says the Russian, who celebrates his points with a “Come on!”
Rublev made it to the Roland Garros and US Open quarter-finals this year, but they want more. “It's time to show that you deserve to be eight in the world and get away from the‘ elevator effect ’in the top-ten.”Vicente warns that he sees his ward “In the direction of opting for a big one” because the Muscovite is very ambitious: “He aims very high.”
Vicente asks 2021 for more peace of mind. “We have had a bad time. I even had to take my stress medication because the travel conditions were overwhelming., the family was at home… ”, he recalls. The work will be done by them. On the 15th they will fly to Dubai and from there to Melbourne to spend a quarantine in which they will train the first week with Alexander Zverev and in the second they will add Dominic Thiem and Denis Novak. Almost nothing. “Everyone knows that Andrey loses his balls in training”, says the fashion boy's coach. The duo of the year.