"Rafa has won Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open; media is too focused on if you're a clay or hard-court player" - Casper Ruud on whether he can become one of the best hard-court players

Casper Ruud (L) and Rafael Nadal
Casper Ruud (L) and Rafael Nadal

At the ongoing National Bank Open in Montreal, Casper Ruud fell to Hubert Hurkacz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals in two hours and two minutes. Eighth seed Hurkacz made his way to a second Masters 1000 final after winning the Miami Open last year.

After getting broken early in the match, fourth seed Ruud found himself trailing 0-3 in the first set before changing gears and winning it 7-5. However, Poland's Hurkacz fought back from a set and a break down to win the match and set up a final meeting with Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

Norwegian Ruud was looking to reach a Masters final for the second time in his career. Earlier this year, he lost to Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets in the Miami Open title clash. The 23-year-old has nine ATP singles titles to his name so far, eight on clay and one on hard surface.

In a press conference after the match, he was asked whether he feels like becoming one of the greatest hard-court players in the world. Unimpressed with the question, Ruud used Rafael Nadal's example and stated that the media is often too quick to label a player as a one-surface specialist.

"I think the media is too focused on if you're a clay court player or hard court player," Ruud said. "I mean, Rafa has won Wimbledon twice, he has won the US Open four times, Australian Open two times. We all know that he's the greatest clay court player that is. I think the media is making names and calling you this or that too early sometimes."
The replay shows Casper Ruud saying "Happy for you" as he approached Nadal at the net. I'd have been asking for a refund, personally.

Ruud, who has won three titles this season, was a finalist at the 2022 French Open. Nadal outclassed him 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to win his record-extending 14th Roland Garros title.

"I never looked at myself as a clay court specialist. Even though I prefer to play on the surface, yes, I also like playing on hard courts. I mean, I feel I can do good results. I've proven it this year with Miami and this tournament that I'm able to win some matches against good players on hard court as well," Ruud added.

Casper Ruud joins Team Europe for Laver Cup

Casper Ruud at the 2021 Laver Cup
Casper Ruud at the 2021 Laver Cup

The fifth edition of the Laver Cup is scheduled to be held from September 23-25 at the O2 Arena in London. Coached by Bjorn Borg, the first four members of Team Europe were the 'Big 4' of tennis — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic. The remaining two spots were occupied by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

World #7 Casper Ruud is in for his second Laver Cup with Team Europe.Read more:

Ruud expressed his excitement at playing the event for the second time after last year's edition in Boston.

“I am proud to be part of Team Europe’s historic line-up. It was an amazing experience competing in Boston, and I can’t wait to have these incredible players as my team-mates in London," Ruud said.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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