After guiding 23-year-old Andrey Rublev to a career-best breakthrough season, in the 2020 ATP Awards, former Spanish player Fernando Vicente has been voted Coach of the Year.
Vicente has been working with Rublev for four years. They have had together a front-row view to the star’s highs and lows: from the toughest moment after the Russian’s 2018 spinal stress fracture, to his returin and meteoric rise in 2020. Their hard work was rewarded when Rublev tore through the competition in 2020, winning a Tour-leading five titles as well as lifting his FedEx ATP Ranking to a No. 8.
And for the Spaniard, it felt like a double victory since Rublev was also recognized with the Most Improved Player of the Year award by his ATP peers.
The first Spanish coach to win Coach of the Year since the award began in 2016, Vicente retired from tennis in 2011 after a career that made him rise as World No. 29. He also won three ATP Tour singles titles and two double crowns. His partnership with Rublev began in 2016 when the Russians arrived at the 4Slamtennis Academy, founded by Vicente and other players Galo Blanco and Jairo Velasco, near Barcelona.
One of the qualities Vicente highlighted for his player was Rublev’s strong motivation and desire to progress further as a player – a statement made by Spain that made his career “fun”. It was this same quality that pushed Rublev to higher ground in 2020, despite the harsh conditions brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic and the five-month suspension of Tour.
The result was five titles from Rublev’s five finals – including his first three at the ATP 500 level – success to the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, and a debut in the Nitto ATP Finals. Apart from being the best season for 23-year-olds so far, and it has been Vicente’s most successful year as a coach.