Rising Casper Ruud Wary of Carlos Alcaraz and other Young Talents

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday April 17, 2021

Casper Ruud says that a loss to 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz humbled him and set the table for another strong run at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters this week.

“Coming into this week, I played pretty well in Marbella, but I lost to a good young player,” he said. “I got a tough beating there. He was playing very well. Surprised me a bit how well Alcaraz was playing back in Marbella. He showed me that the young guys are coming. I felt like it was time for me to step up a little bit.”

The 17-year-old reached his first ATP semi-final in Marbella, and he is taking his place in next week’s Barcelona Open draw, where he will face Frances Tiafoe in first-round action. The Spaniard has just 13 ATP matches under his belt but he’s already making a big impression.

Ruud, who defeated Diego Schwartzman, Pablo Carreno Busta and defending champion Fabio Fognini to reach his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal on clay, says he is high on confidence, even after falling to Andrey Rublev on Saturday, 6-3, 7-5.

“I played well here in Monte-Carlo, which gave me confidence,” he said. “Unfortunately wasn’t to be today. It’s been a good week. I’ve been playing good matches and beating good players. It’s a very good start of the clay court season for me.”

The 22-year-old, ranked 27 this week, says he is very much looking forward to continuing the upward trend during the remainder of the clay season.

“I think I had some good wins here. The three previous rounds against Schwartzman, Carreno Busta and Fognini, I played well. I was able to beat very good players, especially on a clay court, which I think is their best surface.

“I consider myself a clay court player myself,” he said. “I’m taking with me a lot of confidence for the next tournaments. I’m really looking forward to the next Masters 1000s events in Madrid and Rome, where I will try to do my best to try to defend myself from last year. I have good memories from Rome. And I’m looking forward to playing Madrid. It will be my first time playing the main drawn event there. Yeah, it’s some nice weeks coming. It’s been a very good start of the European clay court season for me. I’m ready for the next tournaments.”