Casper Ruud shed light on his mindset heading into the 2023 French Open final against Novak Djokovic.
Ruud found himself in the Roland Garros final for the second consecutive year after defeating Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in two hours and nine minutes on Friday, June 9. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic continued his quest for his third title at the clay court Major by battling past a cramping Carlos Alcaraz to secure a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Looking ahead to the title clash during his post-match press conference, Ruud acknowledged the impressive performances Djokovic had displayed throughout the tournament and hailed the Serb's consistent ability to elevate his level at Grand Slams.
"And, yeah, I think Novak has played great this tournament, and in the Grand Slams, he always raises his level," Casper Ruud said.
The Norwegian acknowledged the tough challenge ahead, given his 0-4 record against the 22-time Grand Slam champion. He admitted the need to formulate a better game plan and bring his best tennis in order to have a chance against the Serb.
"So it's going to be a tough challenge. I have never beaten him before. So I'm going to have to try to come up with a better game plan and just know I'm going to have to play my best game, my A game, my best level that I've ever played if I want to have a chance against him," he added.
Ruud also shared his intention to approach the match without putting excessive pressure on himself.
"I'm going to try to do that, and try to play without too much pressure. That's sort of what I did today, just went out, didn't think too much, didn't want to show too many emotions, either good or bad ones. I was just in the zone. Let's see if I can keep this sort of feeling and mentality in for the final," he said.
"I would like to try to do better than last year" - Casper Ruud ahead of French Open final against Novak Djokovic
Casper Ruud reiterated his aim to play the French Open final without any pressure. He weighed in on the contrast between his search for a maiden Grand Slam title and Novak Djokovic's pursuit of his 23rd.
"Yeah, it's going to be tough, for sure. He's playing for his 23rd. I'm playing for my first. So I'm going to just try to play without pressure and just try to enjoy the moment," Casper Ruud said.
He admitted to having a similar mindset in last year's final against Rafael Nadal and expressed his desire to improve on his previous performance.
"I think that was my mentality last year, as well, and it didn't go my way. Obviously I would like to try to do better than last year. Let's see if I have learned something from the two previous ones that I played last year," he added.
Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets in the 2022 French Open final, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to secure his record 14th Roland Garros title.