Rublev wins in Dubai, joins criticism of ranking system

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Andrey Rublev

DUBAI (AFP): Andrey Rublev has added his voice to criticism of the current ATP ranking system with the Russian world No. 8 suggesting after winning his opening match in Dubai on Tuesday that it does not work in his favour.

Alexander Zverev, the German world No. 7, recently described the revised system as “absurd” because he is ranked lower than Roger Federer even though the Swiss missed an entire year due to knee surgery.

The system was introduced to protect players who are unable to travel and compete because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While players can add points to their tally, they do not drop the points accumulated from the previous season.

“If we would have the normal system, I would be like No. 4 in the world I think. So what do you think is better for me, to be No. 8 or No. 4?” said Rublev when asked if he agreed with Zverev’s statements.

“With the system that we’re having now, for me, it’s much tougher to be No. 4, so here is the answer.” Rublev extended his winning streak at 500-level tournaments to 21 matches after he beat Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-4 in the second round in Dubai.

The Russian, who has won his last four events at this level dating back to Hamburg last September, will next tackle American 15th seed Taylor Fritz or freshly-crowned Doha champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last-16 stage.

The second-seeded Rublev faced no break points against the 21-year-old Ruusuvuori and unleashed 26 winners, including six aces.

Canadian world No. 12 Denis Shapovalov said he plans to compete in fewer tournaments this season if the tennis tour continues to operate under strict coronavirus bubble conditions for players.

Shapovalov, who enjoyed a winning debut in Dubai thanks to a 6-1, 6-3 second-round success over German big-server Jan-Lennard Struff, says being confined to a hotel room at every tournament due to COVID-19 restrictions can take a mental toll on players.