Merrick’s Noah Rubin begins his third journey in a Grand Slam tournament Monday when he takes on fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo in the first round of the Australian Open. And if he gets past Fratangelo, Roger Federer likely will be his second-round opponent.
Rubin earned his spot in the main draw by winning his three qualifying matches this past week and he will be making his second consecutive appearance in the Australian. Last year he got a wild-card spot and upset 17th-seeded Benoit Paire in the first round before losing to Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second. Rubin made the 2014 U.S. Open by winning the national junior title, which came shortly after he won the Wimbledon juniors. He lost in the Open’s first round to Federico Delbonis.
Rubin, who turns 21 in February, lost to his friend Fratangelo in a tough three-setter last fall. “I feel really in my game. It should be a great match,” Rubin said by text Saturday from Melbourne.
Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam winner, is making a comeback from knee surgery at age 35 and hasn’t played a competitive match since Wimbledon. Because of his injury absence his ranking has fallen to No. 17. He will play qualifier Jurgen Melzer in the first round.
Rubin was low-key about the chance of playing the legendary Federer, knowing he first has to get past Fratangelo. “It will be a good chance to showcase our skills,” he said.