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Ruud on Alcaraz: ‘It’s hard to believe he’s still only a teenager’

He might have been disappointed, but he had nice words to say about the man who beat him to a maiden Slam and the world No 1 spot

Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud Carlos Alcaraz poses with the Championship Trophy after defeating Casper Ruud during the Men s finals at the 2022 US Open USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2022 in Queens, New York City (Imago/Panoramic)

Casper Ruud was in awe of the man who vanquished him in the US Open final – and took the chance in his post-match press conference to express his admiration for Carlos Alcaraz, who doesn’t turn 20 until next May.

“It’s incredibly impressive what he has achieved already as a teenager,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s sometimes hard to believe he’s only a teenager. But, yeah, he is. He’s more than four years younger than myself. It’s incredible.

“I think I’ve said it at least before, he’s one of these few rare talents that comes up every now and then in sports. That’s what it seems like. Let’s see how his career develops, but it’s going all in the right direction.

“He has shown incredible fighting spirit and will to win. He was down a match point a couple matches ago and was able to turn around and end up winning the tournament. You can also say he’s been not fortunate because he deserves to win the tournament. But things have also kind of went in his favour sometimes, to put it this way. He’s riding that wave.”

Ruud: Alcaraz is the best player in the world

And the Norwegian added that the 19-year-old deserves both his maiden Grand Slam and the world No 1 slot.

“At the moment he’s the best player in the world in my eyes. He deserves that spot. I’m happy that we played each other in the final and that we played for the title and the world No 1 spot.

“I think it’s deserving that after great results, both of us having good results throughout the year, we are 1 and 2 in the rankings tomorrow.

“I’m very proud of being No. 2. In a way it’s a good thing because I can still chase the last spot. There’s only one more spot to conquer, but it will be tough for sure!”

Ruud: Alcaraz’s team do everything in the right ways

He also had a quick word for Alcaraz’s medical team, who had helped him to recover from two gruelling five-set matches.

“That was a thought, for sure, knowing he played more hours than myself, finishing late many days after his matches.

“But, yeah, he’s young. I guess he recovers fast. He still looked fresh as ever on this match today. So not going to say it’s a surprise because he’s a strong guy, he works hard, he does all the right things.

“But it’s impressive he’s come from behind in some matches, played some four- and five-hour matches, still has that energy to keep going. All credits to him. His team, they do everything in the right ways.

“I think he also has help from I believe a doctor who also has helped Rafa for many years. He knows what he’s doing. He’s been able to keep Rafa’s body fresh and ready for many Grand Slams. So he has good help. He does all the right things. It’s impressive, for sure.”

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