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"He has the package where you can’t really rest in any corner of the court when you play against him" - Casper Ruud on Novak Djokovic

Casper Ruud [inset] explained why Novak Djokovic's claycourt tennis is unlike any other
Casper Ruud [inset] explained why Novak Djokovic's claycourt tennis is unlike any other
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Casper Ruud recently explained the nuances of Novak Djokovic's tennis, pointing out how the Serb is extremely well-rounded and has a complete game.

Ruud believes Djokovic can stand up to Rafael Nadal's game on clay better than anyone else, particularly because of his rock-solid backhand.

Speaking to the ATP ahead of the Monte-Carlo Masters, Ruud shed light on how the Serb's game is different from Rafael Nadal's. The 23-year-old highlighted the fact that Djokovic plays closer to the baseline than Nadal. Ruud also emphasized that the Serb's brilliant backhand is tough to break down, even for Nadal, who imparts a tremendous amount of topspin on his groundstrokes.

"He (the Serb) plays a little bit differently from Rafa," Casper Ruud said. "He plays a little bit further in to the court and the thing with Novak is that his backhand is so pure and so good, that even though many clay-court players like Rafa like to push the backhand of their opponent because it’s tough with the high bounce, with the heaviness, Novak stands against it better than anybody else because he has such good control with his backhand."

Ruud believes that the Serb's game is so solid that it is difficult to devise a tactic against him.

"It makes it tough to find any holes in his game and his forehand is no weakness either, so he can produce winners and good defensive shots from both sides all the time," Ruud added. "He has the package where you can’t really rest in any corner of the court when you play against him because either he plays with his backhand and he will push you with it and also with his forehand he can produce great angles and different shots."

The Norwegian also broke down Rafael Nadal's claycourt strengths, which can be read in this article.

"Novak Djokovic is one of the best movers on tour" - Casper Ruud

The Serb stretches to make a return on clay
The Serb stretches to make a return on clay

During the conversation with ATP, Casper Ruud highlighted how Novak Djokovic's athleticism makes him impenetrable. The Norwegian feels the Serb does not have a problem facing heavy shots on clay due to his tendency to step forward and take the ball on the rise.

"Obviously he’s one of the best movers on Tour," Casper Ruud said. "He can get to certain balls and play defence like no other player, so I think that’s what makes him as tough as he is both on hard court and clay. But on clay, he is able to step into the court and take those heavy shots that you try to play at him a little bit more on the rise and play it with good depth back to you.

Djokovic and Ruud are both part of the field at the Monte-Carlo Masters.


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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