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Andrey Rublev admitted to having a ‘not good’ reaction when he was drawn in the same half as Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Nitto ATP Finals.

The annual competition hails the end of the men’s tennis season, with the best eight players in the world going head-to-head for the title.

Current world number one Carlos Alcaraz was forced to withdraw due to an injury sustained at the Paris Masters, so he has been replaced by world number nine, Taylor Fritz.

Rublev has been drawn in the tough red group, while the green group is made up of Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Fritz.

His first match is against countryman Daniil Medvedev and he says he is completely focusing on that right now.

“Against Daniil, that’s going to be a real chess match,” Rublev said.

“I’m not even looking at my other matches. I believe both of us will show a great level that spectators will enjoy.

“My first reaction [to the group] was not good. “I thought, ‘What am I doing here, in this group?’”

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It is Rublev’s third appearance at the finals and he has never gone further than the round-robin stage, but the 25-year-old knows there are no easy games at this level.

“You cannot escape it,” Rublev said. “If you want to play against the best and try to beat them, you have to face them. I just want to enjoy my time and give all my best.”

Rublev has been a permanent fixture in the top ten rankings since October 2020, apart from two weeks in 11th place in August of this year. He is currently ranked world number seven and has won four titles this year.

The ATP Finals has a different feel to most other tournaments during the year though, and Rublev says he enjoys its unique qualities.

“This moment feels special, I enjoy it,” Rublev said. “For the spectators too, it’s fun to see not just tennis, but to see the players in a different atmosphere.

“I think it’s great entertainment for them and also for us. It brings something new and refreshing.”

The Nitto ATP Finals runs from 13-20 November at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy.

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