Casper Ruud Sheds Light On Conversation With Nadal’s Ex-Coach About The Depth Of Men’s Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Casper Ruud Sheds Light On Conversation With Nadal’s Ex-Coach About The Depth Of Men’s Tennis

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The level of men’s tennis has risen so much that Rafael Nadal’s former mentor says the Spaniard needs to be at the top of his game in every match, according to Norway’s Casper Ruud. 

Ruud, who is currently ranked fourth in the world, has hailed the depth of men’s tennis following his fourth round win at the Italian Open on Tuesday. Rome is the fourth consecutive Masters 1000 event where at least one of the quarter-finalists is a qualifier with Yannick Hanfmann currently enjoying a fairytale run. Others to have achieved this milestone in 2023 were Chris Eubanks in Miami, Jan-Lennard Struff in Monte Carlo and Alsan Karatsev who reached the semi-finals in Madrid. Struff was also runner-up in Madrid after entering the draw as a lucky loser. 

“We don’t have like 10 guys who can play, we have 80-100 who can play so well on any given day. I think that’s exciting,” Ruud said during an interview with The Tennis Channel“These last months you have seen some big surprises in Masters 1000s like Struff. Last year Carreno Busta, Rune and Coric all won titles, and they were not the top seeds. It’s fun, I think it’s great for tennis.’
“You have to be on top of your game in any match you play or you probably lose.”

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says his views about the current state of the Tour are similar to that of Toni Nadal. The uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal who introduced him to the sport at a young age. Toni, who officially stopped working with his nephew in 2017, is currently working with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime. 

“I think one good example is Toni, Rafa’s uncle. He has been Rafa’s coach for almost all of his career and is one of the head coaches at the (Rafa Nadal) academy,” Ruud commented. 
“When I got to the academy he started travelling a bit more with Felix (Auger-Aliassime). He was surprised in a way and told me how the depth of men’s tennis is really big these days.’
“He said early in Rafa’s career he knew he would win 6-2, 6-2, if he did this (play a certain way) because he was too good for the opponent. But (now) even for Rafa on clay he has to be at the top of his game every match otherwise he is gonna have a struggle.”

Ruud has previously demonstrated his worthiness to be ranked among the best in the world following a strong 2022 season when he reached the final of two major tournaments, the ATP Finals and claimed a trio of Tour titles. However, this season has been more challenging for the 24-year-old who has won 15 out of 24 matches played so far heading into the quarter-finals of Rome. Rome is only the second tournament of 2023 where he has managed to win back-to-back matches. 

However, Ruud’s belief in his game is not weakening and playing on the clay is usually a surface he thrives on. 12 out of the 16 ATP finals he has played so far in his career have been on the clay. Furthermore, the French Open is his best-performing Grand Slam in terms of match wins (13). 

“I think many of the losses that I have had have been against good players. To Struff in Monte Carlo who went to the final in Madrid and showed what kind of potential he has. He just hit me off the court. In Barcelona, I lost to (Francisco) Cerundolo,” he said. 
“A lot of these guys have a top level and I felt that I played a lot of them when they played some of their best tennis. It’s a little bit unfortunate but I feel like on clay if I play well and get my game going I can be dangerous to anyone who I play.”

Ruud will next take on Argentina’s Cerundolo in Rome later today. 

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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