REUTERS: Andrey Rublev said he had accepted a wild card for Barcelona this week in the belief that his participation in the Monte Carlo Masters would come to a halt against Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals on Friday.
But the exhausted Russian has now been left with a very quick turnaround after he beat the Spaniard and then went on to reach Sunday's final of the ATP Masters 1000 event, where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
"When I confirmed to play Barcelona, it was right before the match with Rafa," Rublev told reporters with a smile after his 6-3 6-3 loss to Tsitsipas in Sunday's final.
"I was thinking in my head that Friday probably I will be already in Barcelona."
Nadal, who counts 13 of his 20 Grand Slam titles on the red dirt of Roland Garros, has lost only six times at the clay court tournament, an event he has won 11 times.
Rublev, 23, climbed to a career-high ranking of seventh on Monday, having registered the most wins (21) on the ATP Tour season in 2021.
Greek Tsitsipas, 21, edged ahead with a 4-3 lead in their head-to-head rivalry with Sunday's win.
"If we talk deeply, of course, I mean, I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted," Rublev said. "But this is not (an) excuse. He was just better than me, and that's it."
Following the ATP 500 event in Barcelona, Rublev will take a week off to rest before he gets back on Tour at the back-to-back Masters 1000 events on clay at Madrid and Rome next month.
"I think I can play on Wednesday, so I have like two days off, which is more than enough," he said.
"We'll see how I will feel. I think everything is going to be okay because two days is more than enough to be ready. Then I'm not playing nothing, I have only Masters."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)