In Miami it will be a final between rookies. If Carlos Alcaraz has become the second youngest finalist in the history of this tournament after Nadal in 2005, the challenger will be the Norwegian Casper Ruud who at the Miami Open reached his first final in a tournament of the Masters 1000, the number 10 at ATP level. . Final reached also thanks to the success against Zverev in the quarters and which will guarantee him the best ranking at position number 7.
For Ruud it is the second final arrived on hard, after the Norwegian has built up his reputation as a clay specialist: “I never expected that if I ever reached a Masters 1000 final it would be here in Miami. Obviously I am benefiting from the conditions in which the tournament is held and the pitch. This is a very slow surface compared to other tournaments; so, I think it fits my game quite well. “
Ruud played his semifinal against Cerundolo, an opponent less used to these stages than him: “I think I have shown that I have a little more experience than him. In this particular match he has seen himself when it came to playing important points. This was his first semifinal in a Masters 1000, while I have come to play these matches a couple of times in the past. [Tre volte: Roma, Montecarlo e Madrid, ndr]. However, every game is important and you can get nervous and tense.“On the progress of the meeting:”The start was a bit shaky, but then things went pretty well and I won some key points, especially at the end of the first set. In the early part of the second set there were some tough physical games. After that, everything more or less went my way, it was a bit of a mixed game but it ended well“.
Last act of the tournament that will see him engaged against Carlos Alcaraz: “I think we can all see how talented he is and that he has the right mindset. He plays the game very well, he knows when to hit certain shots and when to probably not. When he plays at his highest level he’s very, very good, but he also takes a lot of risks, I think, so he’s looking for the powerful shot.“ On the previous one last year in Marbella won by the Spaniard in two sets: “I think he played an excellent game at that time. I hardly had a chance, so I’ll try to take my revenge. Obviously I think we all know how much he is already a great player and he will be one of the protagonists for many years. “
Which event made Ruud mentally click the tough guy: “I think having reached the fourth round at the Australian Open last year gave me some confidence on this surface. I have never felt uncomfortable playing on concrete, but it’s just that my game seems to fit a little better on clay. Until last year, I had reached my most important results on clay and I think this still applies now. The final reached here in Miami changes things a bit, this result gives me further confidence. Also, I think I reached another three quarter-finals in the 1000 on hard courts last year [Canada, Cincinnati e Bercy, ndr]so this too gave me the confidence and experience to feel capable of repeating this type of path ”.
Ruud has not forgotten the exploit of Turin: “Obviously the Nitto ATP Finals was a tournament where I exceeded expectations reaching the semifinals. It was a great achievement. I think my mentality is a little different now. Obviously it helps to have a high seed in tournaments. You can get a bye in the first round, and if you get a couple of good wins you are already in the quarterfinals “,
On the lack of attention from the media for him compared to Zverev, Medvedev and Tsitsipas: “I think they have done better than me. I can honestly say this and admit they obviously achieved more, just look at the facts. Until now I was able to beat two of them and I faced Daniil a couple of times but he was too good for me. They are the players we will see on the circuit, I hope another 10, 15 years, and I hope I can be part of that group. Whether people are talking about me or not, it doesn’t matter. I think it might be because I come from a small country with little tennis tradition. If I got bigger results in the Grand Slams, maybe it would be a little different. I hope I can get good results in the Grand Slams, and so more people will want to know about the player from Norway “
For Ruud there is a predilection for crushed brick, now the explosion on concrete, the grass taboo remains: “I think grass is for golfers. My preparation for Wimbledon is basically just playing golf before the tournament, because for now I feel more comfortable on the golf course than on the grass tennis courts. But let’s see if this can change in the future. I know a lot of players would probably pick Wimbledon if they had to pick a Grand Slam to win, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I think it’s the kind of rebound that makes it more difficult for me to play, I haven’t been able to feel the ball well in my strings yet. “.