John McEnroe felt that Casper Ruud was "totally overwhelmed thinking about playing Rafael Nadal on clay" during this year's French Open final. Ruud, 23, reached his first Grand Slam final at this year's French Open.
Ruud didn't really stand much of a chance versus Nadal as the Spaniard ousted the Norwegian 6-3 6-3 6-0. On Friday, Ruud defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets to make the US Open final. "So this is an awesome effort.
I think at the French Open he was totally overwhelmed thinking about playing Rafael Nadal on clay - who wouldn't be? But now he seems to be playing even better than he was at the French Open, and he has got to go in thinking that he has a great chance to win this.
I saw him up close at the Laver Cup last year and his serve was bigger than I thought and he hits a bigger ball. But I did not see this coming, that he would be this good on hard courts," McEnroe told Eurosport.
McEnroe praises Ruud's game, personality
McEnroe admits that Ruud may not be flashy but he is definitely someone that works hard and knows how to get the job done.
"He is awesome, he is humble," McEnroe said of Ruud. "He is not going to light the stadium on fire. He does not have the charisma of Carlos Alcaraz or Frances Tiafoe, but he is a credit to our game. He is extremely solid, he works hard.
He has spent a lot of time the last few years at Nadal's academy, watching the way he does his thing. That has helped him to realise he had to do even more." In the US Open final, Ruud plays Carlos Alcaraz. A few months earlier, Ruud suffered a straight-set defeat to Alcaraz in the Miami Masters final. It remains to be seen if Ruud can beat Alcaraz and lift his first Grand Slam title.