One step away.
One more win and Long Island’s Noah Rubin will be in the main draw of the US Open. The 20 year-old from Rockville Centre and Merrick, had a tough journey this season with an ankle injury back in June before the grass court season.
It set him back and now, Rubin’s out to prove he belongs in the main draw next week.
“There were a lot of people in worse situations than me,” Rubin said. “I was kind of thankful it was only two months. (The ankle) is not 100 percent, but I’m trying to push past it and it was tough for me and who knows how the season would have gone. I might have not won another match after that.”
Okay, true, but that’s tough to believe, because Rubin is a smart player on the court and makes up for his 5’10” size with tremendous speed on the court and good conditioning.
Today, against the No. 28 seed in the qualifying tournament, Rubin outclassed Germany’s Michael Berrer, 6-2 4-6, 6-4. It was clear, the young American was getting stronger as the match went along and Berrer was struggling in the third set.
“I felt I was in better shape and I pushed it to three sets and was able to be mentally strong,” Rubin said. “For a guy my size, every serve you have to gut out.”
Rubin may not be the great hope of American tennis, but he is definitely an interesting story. This young player seems to be a fan favorite, as he plays to the crowd. Because of his local roots, it’s easy to do it in Flushing Meadows, but he also does it elsewhere.
And there’s a little bit of an edge to him. When a call doesn’t go his way, Rubin will argue with the chair umpire. He is not afraid to show his emotions out in the court, which is why fans are drawn to him.
“I always do, even if it’s not in New York,” he said. “I try to get everyone on my side. You try to rally everybody and it’s a long journey. A year in tennis is a very long time. You try to make it enjoyable and different.”
And now he’s trying to follow in the footsteps of other great New Yorkers like the McEnroe Brothers and James Blake.
The first step is tomorrow when he plays the No. 3 seed Karen Khachanov. It’s a tough test for Rubin, who has never faced him before.
“I’ve known him for a while, we played Junior together,” Rubin said. “A big kid from Russia, who is like everyone else who plays tennis in the world.”
Except the kid from Long Island, who learned tennis from John McEnroe’s academy. Rubin is surprising everyone and he can surprise tomorrow.
One step away.