When Andrey Rublev saw the Nitto ATP Finals groups, the World No. 7’s eyes lit up as it was revealed that he would collide with all three of the tournament’s former champions in the draw: Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. A heavy-hitting, tough-as-nails Red Group.

But as Rublev anticipates his opening match Monday, a first encounter this season against Medvedev, the 25-year-old is narrowing his focus to the job at hand.

“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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Rublev is aiming towards a strong run in his third appearance at the season finale, which showcases the world’s best eight players. He hopes to improve upon his previous round-robin exits. But there is no easy path.

“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, who boasts a 49-18 match record in 2022, is tied with Cameron Norrie at fourth-most Tour-level wins this season, behind Tsitsipas (60), Carlos Alcaraz (57) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (56).

A four-time titlist this season (Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade, Gijon), Rublev still enjoys the bright lights of the year-end event.

“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. Rublev’s showdown against Medvedev is set for Monday afternoon local time.

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