03:04 PM GMT September 07, 2017
For players plotting their ascent up the Emirates ATP Rankings, the process off the court is just as important as the results between the lines. Developing a consistent regimen and focusing only on what you can control is critical to growth and maturation.
Step by step, Fernando Vicente and his pupil, surging #NextGenATP star Andrey Rublev, are realising the true potential of their partnership as they continue to progress through the draw at the US Open. Vicente is making it a priority that he does not skip any of the stops on the train to the top. He believes that the Russian has the talent to cement himself among the game's elite, but with one critical element: work, work and more work.
"Andrey is still a bit far from the players above him, but he has shown that he has the determination and the work ethic to win matches like he has this week," said Vicente, a former World No. 29 and three-time ATP World Tour titlist.
The World No. 53 is also soaring up the Emirates ATP Race To Milan as he looks to join the field of eight contenders in the Next Gen ATP Finals from 7-11 November. Currently in fifth position, Rublev and Vicente have Milan in their sights, especially after scoring a first Top 10 victory over Grigor Dimitrov at the US Open on Thursday.
"The challenge of being in Milan motivates these guys," Vicente added. "This is an important event at the end of the year and has created some great competition between the younger players. Even in the locker room you can see their competitiveness and they have pushed each other."
But as strong as Rublev's recent form has been, claiming his maiden ATP World Tour title in Umag and pushing towards the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, Vicente is quick to temper expectations. A significant opportunity awaits against Damir Dzumhur on Saturday, with a spot in the US Open Round of 16 at stake.
"My feeling is that Andrey still has to improve certain aspects and be more consistent, stay focused longer. He is on the right path and if he does that, he can become a very good player. I am proud that he was very aggressive against Dimitrov and must play like that in every match. Now we will also work on his mobility. When he has to defend, we will work on him getting into better positions."
Rublev acknowledges that Vicente has instilled a determined approach in the teenager. The Spaniard is devoted to his craft at his academy in Barcelona and these same values have been adopted by his pupil. With fitness and coordination at the core of his philosophy, Vicente believes that capitalising on gym sessions is essential to success. Progress may have been slow and steady, but Rublev knows that it is now paying off.
"We have a very special relationship and for me it is very easy to work with someone like him," Rublev added about Vicente. "He tries to get the maximum from me as possible to improve my game. He explains to me how I have to play with my forehand and which balls to hit. That is, which are right to hit and attack with and which balls to defend with.
"Also, how to use my movement and then what I have to do between the points. He tries to give me everything to be better. Before I wasn’t even thinking about these things and now I see a big improvement."
The stakes could not be higher when Rublev battles Dzumhur third on Court 5 on Saturday. A breakthrough moment awaits.