Casper Ruud Not Ready To Make Excuses After Roland Garros Final Defeat - UBITENNIS
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Casper Ruud Not Ready To Make Excuses After Roland Garros Final Defeat

Casper Ruud is making no excuses as he is more motivated to achieve his Grand Slam dream.

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Casper Ruud (@usopen - Twitter)

Casper Ruud remained defiant about his future Grand Slam chances after losing the Roland Garros final to Novak Djokovic.

It wasn’t to be for Ruud who lost a third consecutive Grand Slam final after a 7-6(1) 6-3 7-5 defeat to Novak Djokovic.

Despite the defeat it has been a positive tournament for the Norwegian who wasn’t in the best form heading into Paris.

However a second consecutive Roland Garros final ends in defeat for the world number four.

After the match Ruud praised Djokovic’s level throughout the match and admitted the Serb showed why he has won 23 Grand Slam titles, “So he kind of pressures you in a way to go for more risks, and that’s tough, because obviously against him you want to try to play as aggressive as possible, because if you’re too much on the defense he’ll just control the game, he’ll put in some dropshots, and play just from corner to corner,” the Norwegian admitted in his press conference.

“So I think I had a good game plan and it worked well in the beginning. Also because he did some mistakes. But, yeah, he just stepped up, like he knows how to do. It’s not the first time he’s done it. You know, you can see why he’s won 23 with how he’s sort of turned the first set around and stepped up in the second and third when he had to.

“You know, I feel like every time I play Novak it’s in a big match, so he’s motivated to try to win. I feel like I played him many times where he’s like the best version of himself, where he’s just really locked in, and doesn’t give
you much.

“He makes it very tough both, you know, to win every point against him, he reads the game very well, it’s tough to find winners against him. Yeah, just all credits and honour to him for how good he is. I gave it my all, but it wasn’t enough.”

A defeat for Ruud to reflect on as his wait for a Grand Slam title goes on and the Norwegian was asked if there is anything he needs to add to his team to be successful at a Grand Slam.

Ruud said at the moment there isn’t and right now isn’t the time for excuses, “I don’t feel maybe the need for that just yet, but let’s see what the future holds. You never know. It can always be good with new, fresh eyes on your game,” Ruud said in his press conference.

“It’s not something I’ve thought too much about. But yeah, it’s like you say, I mean, obviously anyone you play in a Grand Slam final is going to be a good player. But the three players I’ve played is just Rafa going for, at the time, the record for 22, and then Carlos who was just on fire in New York, and then here, Novak, going for 23. I played very tough players, as you say.

“I can’t just sit and make excuses, but let’s see what the future holds. I think this is maybe the most important final that I reached, honestly, because first time was, yes, very cool. But here I sort of proved that whatever happened last year is just not like a one-time case.

“Probably going to plant some respect in my opponents’ eyes and hopefully I can build on that, and one day I’m gonna try to obviously aim for a slam title. That’s my biggest goal, my biggest dream in my career and in my life. It’s been close, but close but no cigar, so I’m going to keep working and try to get it one day.”

Ruud’s resilience is the reason he is where he is right now as he looks to break his Grand Slam duck one day.

Ending his press conference, Ruud reflected on what he has learned at Roland Garros this year and how feeling pressure has been a good thing, “I think I’ve learned that it’s sometimes good to feel pressure,” Ruud admitted.

“Coming in, I was pretty honest about how I felt in terms of having to sort of try to defend the final spot, what’s at stake, you lose early, you lose over a thousand points in your ranking, and that’s not fun.

“I think I have learned that, you know, best-of-five sets on clay, I’m just gonna know for the future as well I’m gonna try to be a tough player to beat. I’m just going to try to be there, stay there, play every point in the right way, and if I have to make it physical, I’ll try to make it physical for my
opponents.

“I think I’ve learned that last year was just not a coincidence and that I can hopefully have more nice experiences here in Roland Garros in the future.”

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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