Rublev's star rapidly rising after hot run


Melbourne (AFP)

Andrey Rublev is fast muscling his way into the small group of young guns seen as the next tennis generation, with the Russian on a hot 10-match unbeaten streak and two titles already this season.

The 22-year-old said he can't explain the secret to his success, other than he's been "a little bit lucky".

But that is playing down his achievements -- winning in Doha en route to the Australian Open and then in Adelaide last week, before two comfortable wins at Melbourne Park.

It gave him the distinction of being the first man since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004 to win two titles in the first fortnight of a season, with just three sets dropped so far.

"I mean, there is not much secrets basically," said Rublev. "Was a little bit lucky.

"It's not going to happen often that I'm going to win always, always. It's not going to happen like this.

"Our sport, it's only one winner per week. All the top players like Rafa, Djokovic, Federer, all the rest, there is only going to be one winner. Even top players will have to lose this week. So we'll see."

His form has seen him jump to a career-high world number 16 and his name is now being mentioned alongside the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev as players able to challenge Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

"Karen (Khachanov) and Daniil, there is so many guys like Zverev, Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur, so many young guys that also doing so good," he said.

"In general, I feel like all the young guys, they are playing so good, they are doing so well.

"Of course, you start to feel, 'Okay, they're doing so well, I also need to be close to them to try to play also good'. I don't know, it's like a motivation."

Rublev's career has been dogged by injury. He missed three months in 2018 with a lower back stress fracture and another six weeks last year with a wrist problem.

"The back one was really tough. Even when I already start to play, I was feeling that I was still not there. Mentally, I was somewhere else," he said.

"Then, when the wrist injury happened, at the beginning it was even worse."

But he has bounced back and faces perhaps his toughest clash this year on Saturday against 11th seed David Goffin for a place in the Australian Open fourth round.

"It will be interesting match for me. It's going to be all pressure on him because he's going to be favourite," he said.