Andrey Rublev will need to do a lot more to impress compatriot Marat Safin after his titles this year were branded meaningless.
Rublev has won more titles than any other player on the ATP Tour in 2020 as he broke into the top ten for the first time in his career.
However, former US Open and Australian Open champion Safin says that until he can do it at a better level than an ATP500, Rublev still has everything to prove.
“Do his victories this year mean anything? If truth be told, it doesn’t mean anything," Safin said.
"He won five tournaments, but these are not Masters, these are not Grand Slams. Novak [Djokovic] won less but finished first [in the world rankings].
“Andrey needs to switch and play in major tournaments. He can beat many, you need to go to the semi-finals and the Grand Slam finals to be in the top three.”
Safin, like Rublev, was a power baseline hitter in his pomp, but he believes it is a mental edge his compatriot needs to develop to get to the next level.
“He knows himself that he has let go," Safin said. "He has a rich arsenal, good physics, light on his feet.
“Andrey needs to learn not to break down in stressful situations. In general, many people do not understand what professional sports are.
"The sport of elite achievement is not about learning to hit with different hands and go to play, but how long you can withstand a stressful situation.”
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