Andy Murray believes Andrey Rublev will be “around at the top of the game for a long time”, ahead of facing him in the second round of the Rotterdam Open on Wednesday night.
The pair will face off for the second time, though their previous encounter was when the Russian was just 19, four years ago at the Australian Open, when the former world number one conceded just five games on the way to a straight sets victory.
Since then, Murray has spent an extended time out of the sport through injury and now plays with a metal hip, while Rublev’s risen to the top 10.
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But Britain's three-time Grand Slam champion’s impressed with how the world number eight has improved since then, and believes he has the quality to win major titles.
“He’ll be around at the top of the game for a long time because he’s got a great work ethic - and he’s a very good player,” said Murray.
“I played him when he was very young - he went for it. He hit the ball big back then.
Andrey Rublev in action at the Rotterdam Open
Image credit: Getty Images
“He physically was not that strong then, but I think he’s worked really hard on that side of things.
“He’s always practising. I’ve practised with him a few times and from the first ball, he doesn’t sort of warm into it.
“He just goes full power from the beginning of the practice and that’s how he plays matches and that’s what’s gotten him lots and lots of success.”
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Murray believes if Rublev can temper that aggression on court, he will go far: “I think that the next step for him to winning or going deeper in majors is probably just learning to tone it down at times maybe in matches.
“But it’s difficult when you’ve played a certain way, which has gotten you to the top of the game and into the Top 10 of the world at a young age.”
For Rublev, it is an opportunity to face a player he looks up to and considers to be one of the greats of the game.
“Andy is a true legend and I have a really good connection with him”, said Rublev.
“I really like him as a person and as a player. He destroyed me once in the past. I’m sure we’ll have great, long rallies and it will be a fight.”
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