John McEnroe felt Casper Ruud was “absolutely overwhelmed at the thought of playing Rafael Nadal on clay” during this year’s French Open final. Ruud, 23, reached his first Grand Slam final at this year’s French Open.
Ruud didn’t really have many chances against Nadal, as the Spaniard ousted the Norwegian 6-3 6-3 6-0. On Friday, Ruud defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets to reach the US Open final. “So it’s a great effort.
I think at the French Open he was absolutely overwhelmed at the thought of playing Rafael Nadal on clay – who wouldn’t be? But now he seems to be playing even better than he was at the French Open and he has to think he has a great chance to win this one.
I watched him up close at the Laver Cup last year and his serve was bigger than I thought and he hits a bigger ball. But I didn’t see this coming, that he would be so good on hard courts, says McEnroe to Eurosport.
McEnroe praises Ruud’s game, personality
McEnroe admits Ruud may not be flashy, but he’s definitely a hard worker and knows how to get the job done.
“He’s great, he’s humble,” McEnroe said of Ruud. “He’s not going to set the stadium on fire. He doesn’t have the charisma of Carlos Alcaraz or Frances Tiafoe, but he’s a credit to our game. He’s extremely solid, he works hard.
He has spent a lot of time the last few years at Nadal’s academy, watching how he does his thing. It has helped him realize that he had to do even more.” In the US Open final, Ruud plays Carlos Alcaraz. A few months earlier, Ruud suffered a straight defeat to Alcaraz in the Miami Masters final. It remains to be seen .if Ruud can beat Alcaraz and lift his first Grand Slam title.