“The rule should maybe be discussed” – Casper Ruud on medical timeouts, following Italian Open defeat to Rune

Casper Ruud says that players taking medical timeouts before their opponent’s serve happens too often

In the wake of a bitterly disappointing semi-final loss to Holger Rune at the Italian Open, Casper Ruud was asked whether he thought the medical timeout his opponent took had been a tactical move.

The 2022 Roland-Garros runner-up was leading by a set and a break when Rune took a medical timeout for an apparent shoulder injury, before Ruud’s next service game.

It appeared to throw the Norwegian’s rhythm, as he lost his serve twice en route to surrendering the second set and – ultimately – the match.

“I would like to think not, but I don’t know”, said Ruud on the question of whether Rune’s timeout had been tactical.

“It would only be guessing. But I think if you have pain, you have the right to take the physio”, Ruud continued, in what was a surprisingly diplomatic answer.

Mixed clay-court season for Ruud, with Roland-Garros round the corner

The World No. 4 has endured a difficult season so far, after what was a superb breakout year in 2022. Following a season in which he reached two Grand Slam finals and the world No. 2 spot, Ruud has so far this year struggled to make much of an impact.

Despite starting the clay-court stretch by winning the Estoril Open in Portugal, Ruud has performed well below the high standards he set for himself last year – especially on his favourite surface.

Following Estoril, the Norwegian did not win consecutive matches at any of the next three tournaments he played at.

Italian Open resurgence

The Italian Open marked the start of a resurgence for Ruud, however, as he sailed through to the last four with some impressive clay-court tennis.

That run looked as though it was continuing, as Ruud took the first set and was a break up in the second against his talented Danish opponent.

But following Rune’s medical timeout, Ruud lost focus and went on to lose a match he’d been in full control of.

In his post-match press conference, the Norwegian made it clear that he thought taking a medical timeout prior to your opponent’s service game is perhaps something that needs to be address in tennis.

“The rule should maybe be discussed a bit I think because there are many cases where someone takes medical timeout and it’s before the opponent’s serve, which I know a lot of people kind of dislike a little bit because it can interrupt your rhythm and you have to wait when you’re about to serve.

“I don’t know if that’s something that might change in the future.”

But there were few complaints from Ruud, who openly acknowledged that his opponent played brilliant tennis and did well to turn the match around.

“He played very, very well in the second and third set coming back”, he said.

“Yeah, if there was pain, sure it obviously helped him a lot I think.”

Rune to face Medvedev in Italian Open final

Holger Rune is set to face Daniil Medvedev in the climax of the men’s singles at the Italian Open. The Russian overcame his long-time Greek rival, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a heavily rain-delayed semi-final.

Having finished his match earlier in the day, Rune was able to relax while Medvedev and Tsitsipas took the court three times over the course of six hours because of the bad weather.

Rune and Medvedev are set to meet each other for the second time in just over a month, having never played each other prior to this season.

Their only previous meeting came at this season’s Monte-Carlo Masters in the quarter-final, a match that the young Dane won in straight sets en route to the final.

This will be the highest-profile meeting between the pair, however, with a first clay-court Masters title on the line for both players.

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