Mature #NextGenATP Rubin With An Appetite To Succeed
Young American is prepared to leave no stone unturned
If the criteria to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals were to have an insatiable appetite to learn, and an inner belief and professionalism to attain a desired goal, then Noah Rubin would be a certain participant in Milan later this year. The amiable American is currently among the top seven 21-and-under players in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, but with nine months to go until the inaugural event there is work to do, and points and matches to be won. “It’s a massive motivation to be involved, particularly with new, young talent already making an impact and looking to press their claims as regulars in the Top 100,” Rubin told ATPWorldTour.com. “I’m self-motivated and keen to improve all the time, so it will be a test, and tough to qualify and get involved in a big tournament.”
Time spent off the court due to an ankle injury in mid-2016, but also in grueling nine-hour off-season sessions in Boca Raton, where he alternated between the court and gym for three weeks, reaped dividends earlier this month with the Neville Smith Forest Products Launceston International crown. It was his first ATP Challenger Tour title for 15 months (since November 2015 at Charlottesville) and ended a frustrating wait for the dedicated and disciplined right-hander, who recently turned 21.
“Last year, I was mentally off,” said Rubin. “Having turned pro in 2015, I did well at the Australian Open, but then experienced a poor clay swing prior to getting hurt before Wimbledon. I love the sport so much and the life I lead as a professional player, so I didn’t want to enter a negative space. My family and friends help me stay focused, telling me I just needed to practise and improve. By the time I got back on court I was excited and that’s what I’ve carried over into the new year.”
Under the guidance of Stan Boster, the USTA National Men’s Coach, and former World No. 15 Robby Ginepri, Rubin has added to his armoury to become a more destructive force. ”Noah has a high intelligence level and is able to implement information given to him quickly on the court,” Ginepri told ATPWorldTour.com. “He is extremely professional on and off the tennis court.”
Having played Roger Federer at this year’s Australian Open, where he won a match for the second year running, Rubin witnessed first-hand the intensity in preparation and off-court training of the star names. Having played only seven tour-level events, the Long Island native, currently at World No. 172, is fully aware of what he needs to do in order to rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“I try to keep an open mind, have a flexibility in the way I adapt to results and travel,” said Rubin, who won junior Wimbledon in 2014. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and work on a day-to-day basis. I’ve had a good first month to the year, learning a lot about the intensity of playing against Federer in Melbourne and how to raise my own game. With my current ranking, and with only a handful of points to defend between May and September, I am reassured I can push on, stay free from injury and develop my consistency.
“My backhand was already solid, but my forehand has become a major weapon now. My fitness was always good, but now it’s at another level and, importantly, I’ve become more grounded and mature to adapt to what I’m being asked to do by Robby or Stan. But my Dad [Eric], who taught me to play tennis, and also Lawrence Kleger, who coached me from the age of eight and knows the game so well, continue to mentor me. Lawrence, because of his time with me, picks up instinctively, unlike any other person, what I’m doing wrong on the practice or match court.”
Rubin admits that Ginepri, who was 21 when he lifted his first ATP World Tour trophy at 2003 Newport, has been able to adapt to his own style and provide specific guidance since joining his coaching team. Ginepri also “makes each session fun and talkative”.
“I'm able to give insight from my own tennis experiences and can relate on a daily basis on what he is feeling throughout the day,” said Ginepri. “Noah is filled with confidence and his inner belief is second to none. As long as he keeps his relentless attitude towards perfecting his craft, there's no reason why he can't achieve great things in his career.”