Casper Ruud recently claimed that Novak Djokovic is superior to World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz on indoor hardcourts. Ruud went as far as to say that if given a choice, he would pick Djokovic to play for his life on the surface.
Ruud is through to the semifinals of the ATP Finals for the second time in a row, having made his tournament debut in 2021. When asked about his assessment of the other qualified semifinalist, Novak Djokovic, the Norwegian noted that the 21-time Slam winner was the "best player in the world" when it came to indoor hardcourts - despite Carlos Alcaraz’s World No. 1 status.
"I think on this surface, he's the best player in the world. Like I said maybe earlier days as well, no offense to Carlos because he has the No. 1 spot and will end the year No. 1, but if we have to pick one on indoor hardcourt, depending on your life, I would choose Novak to play that set or match to win it, if it was depending on your life," Ruud said in his post-match press conference after his loss against Rafael Nadal.
Novak Djokovic was unable to defend his Paris Masters title two weeks ago, losing in the final against 19-year-old Holger Rune. But Ruud noted that the former World No. 1 is in great form, having won two titles on the indoor hardcourts in Tel Aviv and Astana.
"Looks like he's playing well. In Paris it showed that he's human as well, lost in the final, a little bit surprisingly to a younger, but also great player," he said.
"I hope I can play him" - Casper Ruud on potential clash with Novak Djokovic at ATP Finals
Speaking about his chances of competing against Novak Djokovic in the 2022 ATP Finals, Casper Ruud said he was hopeful of doing that as it would mean both of them had reached the final.
"I hope of course I can play him. It means we have reached the final, both of us. I guess I will have to come up with something I have not been able to do yet in order to have a chance against him," Ruud said.
The duo have clashed on three occasions in the past – twice in the semifinals of the Italian Open (2020 and 2022), and once in the Group Stage of the 2021 ATP Finals. All three encounters were won by the 21-time Slam champion.
This time around, Djokovic and Ruud are placed in different groups. And while the 23-year-old is the leader of the Green Group, Djokovic is placed on top in the Red Group.
Their positions mean that Ruud will face the winner of the clash between Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, whereas Djokovic will go up against either Felix Auger-Aliassime or Taylor Fritz.
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