Although he was considered only a terraiolo at the beginning of his career, Casper Ruud worked hard to become competitive on hardcourt as well. Inspired by two true champions like Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, the Norwegian adapted his weapons to fast surfaces and his efforts paid off.
The 23-year-old from Oslo reached his first '1000' final in Miami, after dismissing the Francisco Cerundolo revelation thanks to a score of 6-4 6-1. To separate him from the most important title of his career is only Carlos Alcaraz, who is expressing sensational tennis.
The very young Spaniard has ousted defending champion Hubert Hurkacz and has no intention of stopping there. Ruud and Alcaraz met last year in the quarter-finals of the Andalucia Open, with the Iberian winning in two quick sets.
At the press conference, Ruud also allowed himself some digressions on golf. A passion he shares with Nadal. The world number 8 confided that he played golf with Rafa in Mallorca and that he was defeated.
Ruud talks about Rafa Nadal
"I have always watched The Masters in golf, and obviously it's coming up next week and I can't wait for it to watch on TV again.
It's fun, because I will probably be here in the country while it's ongoing, in Houston next week at the tournament. Yeah, they show it all over TV, so it's a perfect place to watch The Masters." Ruud was also asked if he played golf with Rafael Nadal.
The Norwegian replied that he did play against Nadal in Mallorca and lost. He also mentioned that Nadal is a good golfer and a tough, tough competitor. "Yes, I have," Ruud added. "Played with him a couple of times in Mallorca. He's a very good golfer, and...
No I didn't win. He beat me there as well. He's a very, very tough competitor. Honestly, like, a bit tough to play with, because he doesn't say much because he's so focused. Usually on the golf course you are laughing a little bit and joking around.
With him, it's no jokes." Casper will face Carlos Alcaraz in the final: "Well, I think we all can see like how talented he is, that he has a very good I think mind for tennis," Casper Ruud said. "He understands the game very well.
He knows when to hit certain shots and when, you know, probably not to. But he is, at his highest level, very, very good, but he also plays high risk, I think, so he goes for the shots quite often. Hopefully if I play him he will miss a couple of those."