Andrey Rublev says he's "very glad" to make his Olympics debut, admits his first impression of the rooms at the Athletes Village wasn't great

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Andrey Rublev
Rudra Biswas

Andrey Rublev recently gave his thoughts on a variety of topics - right from making his Olympic debut at the 2021 Tokyo Games to the arrangements that are in place at the Athletes Village.

When asked about how it felt to represent the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at Tokyo, Rublev expressed his gratitude for the opportunity. He also promised to perform to the best of his abilities at the international event.

"I feel... I hope I can play well, show a good level," Rublev said. "Of course, I'm very glad to be here, at my first official Olympic games. Now I have a couple of days to prepare, so I will try to use them to the max, and we'll see what's gonna happen."

Andrey Rublev was also probed about the stringent restrictions inside the Olympics 'bubble'. In response, the Russian revealed that he and his countryman Daniil Medvedev had to undergo a slew of tests before and after arriving at the Olympic Village.

"There's more strictness about getting inside that bubble," Rublev said. "There were a lot of tests at the airport, we spent around 4 hours there. Danya [Medvedev] - around 8 hours."
"Yes, something around 8 hours," he went on. "Nothing special happened, just tests after tests after tests, waiting in those rooms. When you arrive to the village, it's tests again. But after, when it's all done - it's not too strict. Just wear the mask and that's it. And out here, on the courts, it's not strict either."

Andrey Rublev later confirmed that he would be playing in the men's singles and men's doubles events at Tokyo. However, he claimed that he is not yet sure whether he will play in mixed doubles, even though he is officially entered for it.

Andrey Rublev was also asked to shed some light on the arrangements made by the Tokyo 2021 organizers for the event. The cardboard bed frames in particular have gained a lot of attention, but Rublev doesn't have any problem with them.

"Yeah, your usual single beds," the 23-year-old said. "Nothing special."

Rublev went on to claim that the facilities overall seemed "tough" at first, but that they've taken everything in their stride by now.

"Ah... Well, of course, we got used to it already," the Russian said. "The first impression from the rooms was... tough. Not tough, I mean, more like, stuff we weren't used to. Cardboard beds, the shower room is very very small, it's very difficult to fit inside."

Andrey Rublev went on to add that there was very little space for his toiletries since the washrooms were incredibly small.

"The bigger problem is that there's no space where to put your stuff, or, for example, in the shower room," he said. "You have to store all your shower things in your room and every time take what you need to the shower, because in the shower there's no space at all."

"Well, there's nothing to be done about it. Those are the rules now" - Andrey Rublev on Russia competing under the acronym ROC

Russia has been competing under the acronym ROC at all sports events after a doping ban in 2019
Russia has been competing under the acronym ROC at all sports events after a doping ban in 2019

Andrey Rublev was also asked about his personal feelings regarding the ban on Russia at the Olympics.

In 2019, the IOC banned the country from all international sports for four years after it was found that data provided by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency had been manipulated to protect athletes involved in the state-sponsored doping scheme.

After much deliberation, it was announced earlier this year that Russia would compete in Tokyo under the acronym "ROC". That also means the current Russian athletes have been given the title of Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA).

Andrey Rublev maintained that even though he would love to officially represent Russia, there was "nothing to be done" about the situation.

"Well, there's nothing to be done about it," the 23-year-old said. "Those are the rules now, I can't change them. Of course, I would like to officially represent my country, but I know where I was born, where I live, so.. it doesn't really matter."
Edited by Musab Abid
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