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Noah Rubin begins uncertain tennis year with Delray Beach Open

Noah Rubin of Long Island returning ball during

Noah Rubin of Long Island returning ball during match against Mackenzie McDonald during the first round of qualifier at the New York Open at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 9, 2020.  Credit: Errol Anderson

In the very uncertain world of professional tour tennis, Noah Rubin will try to get his career jump-started this week in Florida at the Delray Beach Open.

The 24-year-old Rockville Centre resident, who has tried to make a go of it as a pro since 2015, is excited about the chance to play in a tournament for the first time since November, and the possibility of winning a match for the first time since last March when tennis was shut down for several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He ended last season on a losing streak, so the only way to go is up.

"I'm excited to be here," said Rubin, whose world ranking has dropped to No. 251. "Honestly, I’ve been in this position many times before, when I end the year on a poor note in some way, shape or form. Then I start off the year pretty strong."

But it’s the year ahead that has him wondering. The Delray Beach tournament is the only one on the ATP Tour calendar in the United States until the Miami Open at the end of March, and that tournament isn’t all that certain. The New York Open at Nassau Coliseum in February was canceled over pandemic concerns, and the Australian Open shifted from late January to mid-February.

"This is a very unusual year," Rubin said. "I’m happy to be here for Delray, but it’s one tournament. Looks like we might only have one event for the next few months. For the ATP this is really it. There doesn’t seem to be any Challengers. It’s kind of a one-off for me."

Because of very strict protocols in place to hold the Australian Open, the men’s qualifying tournament will be in Qatar and the women’s qualifying in Dubai. While Rubin has had some success in Australia, going to Qatar to qualify wasn’t particularly appealing and meant that he wouldn’t have been able to play Delray.

"Tennis is in a really weird spot with the ATP and the Challenger circuit," said Rubin, who has filled up a lot of his time with his Behind The Racquet Instagram account and other off-court ventures. "I’m not hopeful about the tournament schedule going forward, but I’m going to try to keep what I have going and make sure I can control the things I can control."

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