The Norwegian was impressed with virtually every facet of the 18-year-old's game. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday April 3, 2022
Casper Ruud had a fantastic week at the Miami Open, reaching his first Masters 1000 final, and becoming the first player from Norway to achieve that feat. He climbs to a career-high ranking of No.7 in the world thanks to his performance, but he wasn’t able to get past rising Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday in Miami.
The 18-year-old became the third youngest Masters 1000 champion in history, and the youngest man to ever win the Miami title, when he locked down a 7-5, 6-4 win over Ruud.
After the contest Ruud had nothing but praise for the blossoming game of Alcaraz. He said that the soon to be 19-year-old is already one of the top movers in the sport.
“I think he's one of the players I played who moves better than pretty much anyone,” he said. “I think I have also played a couple of practice sets with Monfils, and he is always running very well. I think those two players are the guys who are moving the best on court. We also have Alex de Minaur, and these guys are very quick with their feet. He has kind of that very quick feet movement but also very much or a lot of firepower in his groundstrokes.”
Ruud says that what makes Alcaraz so tough is that he has all the components. Already, at 18, he has a complete game.
“He serves not incredible but heavy and good enough, and he can mix it up well, going out wide, he goes kick serve sometimes on the first serve,” Ruud said. “I have seen Rafa talk about him, saying that he has all the ingredients to make a good salad, and I think that describes it very well.”
First of a long series pic.twitter.com/bKlbH4Q3Wa
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) April 3, 2022
Courier – Alcaraz Has All the Tools
Four-time major champion Jim Courier, commentating for Tennis Channel after the final, also raved about Alcaraz’s game.
“The kid is so impressive and he’s gaining amazing experience as he goes this season,” said Courier. “It’s remarkable to watch him flourish in real time. He’s just been impressive from the jump.
“You just have to basically take the racquet out of his hands because when he has a chance to play tennis the movement is amazing, the power is very evenly distributed, which is wonderful to see for a player of any age. Keep in mind, players like Djokovic had to work hard for his second serve and his forehand to kind of catch up to the rest of his game, and then he started to lift off. This kid is balanced now. We’ll see, it’s a long road to get to what Roger and Novak and Rafa have done, but all the tools are in the toolbox and he seems to have the most important one which is this one [points to temple].”
Ruud drops to 0-2 lifetime against Alcaraz. He fell to the Spaniard last spring in Marbella, and he believes that while Alcaraz is pretty much the same player, he has put on muscle and made improvements.
“I think he plays quite similar to what he did when we played last year in Marbella,” he said. “It was pretty much almost a year ago, and of course he has improved. He plays very aggressive. But at the same time, he doesn't mind like moving and grinding out balls or points if he needs to.
“Physically he has grown a little bit, I think he has put on some more muscle since last year, but even last year he was ripping the ball very hard,” Ruud said.
“Even though he didn't have like a major outbreak in springtime last year, I think we all could predict that he would have a good season. This year has been impeccable one so far for him.So, I mean, he's one to look out for, and we will see him, like I said in the speech on court, I think we will see him on the big stage for many years and lifting trophies for many years to come.