It turns out the two hours Alexander Bublik spent on court against Ben Shelton was only a warm-up for the tight five he proceeded to deliver to the Tennis Channel Live Desk.

“I woke up at 7; who wakes up at 7?” Bublik asks Prakash Amritraj with the comic timing of a seasoned stand-up. “When you’re a professional tennis player, Top 20, you don’t need to wake up at 7. You can relax more in your life already.”

Bublik hasn’t had much time to relax this spring: despite sitting at a career-high ranking, the world No. 18 entered the Caja Magica on a three-match losing streak, bottoming out at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters when he drafted a ball girl to play Borna Coric in his place.

“If you’re going down 1&1, I think, let’s try to remember the match in a different way,” Bublik explained on Monday.

“I always thought tennis is very boring and I think, imagine you paid the tickets, you go on Sunday instead of being with your family, drinking wine, you go see Sasha Bublik against Coric and it’s like, 32 minutes, 6-1, 2-1. I’d be like, ‘Ok, do something, please! I paid 15,000 to watch you courtside!’”


Bublik has provided considerably more substance through a busy week in Madrid, twice rallying from a set down to reach the fourth round, putting himself two sets from his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal since 2021—not bad for a guy who’s about to go coachless on his least favorite surface.

“My coach is more relaxed than me,” Bublik revealed to Amritraj’s relatable shock. “He told me today, ‘Man, I have to go home.’ I said, ‘Well, we have Masters, this one and Rome.’ He was like, ‘I have to go home, brother. With all due respect, play yourself. I’ll see you before French.’

“I told him, ‘You know, French Open starts on Sunday.’ He’s like, ‘All right, Friday.’”

Bublik is in full flow behind the mic, telling a (perhaps apocryphal) story about the last time he remembers getting a lucky break in a tough match—‘Ok, these guys are having everything, so it’s ok. It’s another let cord, another line, another challenge that I missed by one millimeter, so it’s fine.’—but on the court, the 26-year-old tends to play his best in spite of low expectations, or perhaps because of them. He surprised everyone by reaching the Roland Garros men’s doubles final in 2021—laughing off the presumed absurdity with umpire Marijana Veljovic during the coin toss—and won two titles in 2023 for what has been his most consistent season to date.

Where others would openly aim for more, the big-serving natural talent continues to opt for radical honesty when asked to preview his next match against either good friend Daniil Medvedev.

“With me, you never know what’s going to happen,” he says, smiling through his pair of blue-light glasses. “I won’t be sitting here, telling you, crushing my chest and saying I’ll be Top 10 in two weeks, that I’m the best in the world.

“Not to be sarcastic here, but the most important thing is to be happy and enjoy what I do. The ranking will come up. If I’m destined to be in the Top 10, I will be one day. If not, it doesn’t really matter for me; I have other things to do.”

Concluding his set with one last punchline, Bublik adds: “You never know, I can be No. 72 this time next year!”