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Rublev outlines challenge of playing Dan Evans: “He’s going to try to provoke me: It depends on me, if I will go crazy or not”

Rublev tells Tennis Majors that Evans will try to get in his head when they meet in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday

Andrey Rublev raging AO 2023 AI/Reuters/Panoramic

One of the most engaging things about Andrey Rublev is his honesty; the Russian is always willing to speak openly about his weaknesses as well as his strengths and the relative strengths and weaknesses of his opponents.

So it was no surprise, then, that he should happily begin speculating on what’s going to happen when he plays Britain’s Dan Evans in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

Rublev, who beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland in four sets to advance on Thursday, has played Evans six times. The pair are tied 3-3 but Evans won their most recent encounter, a 6-4, 6-4 win on hard courts at the Rogers Cup in Canada last August.

“He’s one of the smartest players on Tour”

Evans is the kind of player who can get under anyone’s skin, through his style of play and how vocal he can be on court. Rublev knows it, and that’s both a help and a hindrance as he prepares for what he describes as a unique challenge.

“In my opinion, I think he’s one of the smartest players on tour,” Rublev said on Thursday. “He knows how to use weaknesses from the other players, how to play mental games to get in your head. And he’s really smart in these parts.

“We’ll see. Last time he beat me quite easy in straight sets. So we’ll see how it’s going to be, if I can take revenge or not. I will do my best.

“Hopefully everything is going to be OK because he knows exactly what he needs to do against me to beat me. And it’s just about me, if I will be ready for these mental games and his aggressive style of the game against me or not, or I will go crazy mentally. We’ll see.”

“He will try to do many chip and charges”

Rublev has yet to make it past the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam – he’s been that far six times – and he’s looked good so far, dropping a set to Ruusuvuori but advancing in comfort.

But the Russian knows he’ll need to be on his toes mentally against Evans, who loves nothing more than a bit of a dogfight and a good old argument. Rublev knows the challenge he represents.

“He will try to provoke me,” he said. “He will try to do many chip and charges, he will try to use his forehand straight away and he will try to take time. And then it depends, like I say, it depends on me. If I will start to go mentally crazy or not.”

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