Sunday, September 11, 2022

New York, New York, USA

Casper Ruud

Press Conference


6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Casper, great match, great tournament. Please tell us some thoughts on tonight.

CASPER RUUD: Thank you.

Yeah, of course, I think it was an exciting match to play and be a part of. It was many fun rallies and fun shots. Of course, disappointing in the end that it didn't go my way. But that's how it goes.

Carlos stepped up when he really needed to. Especially in the third set, it was close to go in my favor. I had some set points and couldn't take care of them. He just played too good on those points. We've seen it many times before, he steps up when he needs to. When it's close, he pulls out great shots.

All credit to him. At the same time I'm proud of the match and the two weeks. I gave it all. I left it all out on the court. Played some phenomenal tennis throughout the two weeks, probably my best tennis ever on this surface. So I'm very happy in the end.

We'll hopefully get another chance at a slam in the future.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was the turning point when you didn't clinch one of those two break points? It looked like Carlos was losing a bit of energy. Suddenly he got a second wind.

CASPER RUUD: Yeah, I mean, he played aggressively and well on those two break points. When you have a break point and it's also set point in the match like that, it's easy to think, just put the ball in and see what happens.

I was maybe a bit too passive on the first one. I hit my return a bit short and Carlos stepped in, ripped a forehand, came to the net and hit a beautiful volley.

I should maybe have gone for a little bit more. Yeah, you can say that might have been -- that was the set that maybe decided the match. It was one set each, very close, and long third set. I played a horrible tiebreak, unfortunately too many mistakes. Sort of couldn't get those I guess set points out of my head.

It was unfortunate. In the fourth set, it's easier for him to step up energy-wise when you have a two-sets-to-one lead. I think he served great in the fourth set. I had no chances to break him. He hit the spots and lines with the serve. I think that was also a key, that he won the fourth set. He was serving great. Of course, that one break, I couldn't get it back.

Q. How do you think of this situation, the big picture, where he's No. 1, you're No. 2, not too far in age from him. When you have that situation, do you go back and think of what you have to do to get past this guy specifically, or is he now sort of the bar that everybody shoots for?

CASPER RUUD: Yeah, I mean, it's incredibly impressive what he has achieved already as a teenager. It's sometimes hard to believe he's only 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 favor sometimes, to put it this way.

He's riding that wave. 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 (smiling).

Q. You and Carlos have different routes to the final in terms of how much you played, times of day. How conscious were you that he played three five-setters in six days? Were you thinking to take it deep, see what he has left in his legs?

CASPER RUUD: Yeah, I tried. 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.

Q. You spoke the other day about the experience of playing your first Grand Slam final in Paris, how there are certain things you experienced for the first time. How were you feeling today on the court? Were there nerves before? Less or more than Paris?

CASPER RUUD: It was nerves, but I still thought I was the underdog in a way because of Carlos, he's on paper higher ranking and all these things. But it was more fun for me today. I didn't need to play the biggest idol of my life on the biggest match of my life. It was sort of easier for me to believe that I could win.

Yeah, as I said in the beginning, it was a lot of fun, exchanges and rallies. I was able to win a couple of those. It was better atmosphere. I think also hopefully a more fun match to watch for the crowd.

The crowd there in New York have been amazing. They treat all the players well. Even though I lost, I still felt like a champion during these two weeks. Still do in a way.

I'm very, very happy to have performed well in front of this crowd.

Q. Frances Tiafoe said the other night he's never played a player that moved like Carlos. Do you feel that way? If you do, does it force you to redline more? How does it change your game?

CASPER RUUD: A little bit, yeah. It's like when someone asks about player's biggest weapon, for instance, you tend to think forehand, backhand, serve, whatever it is. But sort of his movement is one of his many weapons, of course. It makes us other players feel like you need to paint the lines sort of to be able to hit a winner. Sometimes even that's not enough.

He's very fast. He's very quick. He's a great mover. He can get to balls that we've probably never seen before.

But you have other great movers, as well. I mean, this game has become so physically demanding, and all the players in the top of the world, they do the right things to improve always.

Speed, agility of the players I think are just improving, improving. The physical aspect has been not changed but it has improved by everyone.

I think Novak and Rafa and also Federer, I think they kind of set the bar on how well you can move out there. Rafa, when he was Carlos' age, he was also similar. He tracked down everything. Almost no one could hit a winner on him. Novak the same with his flexibility. He gets to certain shots that you think, How is that even possible?

Carlos has sort of a mixture of both. He's fast, flexible. He can slide around. It's impressive.

Yeah, he's a hard nut to crack.

Q. What has the French Open and this tournament taught you about what you need to do to take that next step and win one of these titles?

CASPER RUUD: Well, I think obviously if you reach a Grand Slam final, whoever you play will be a great player on the opposite side of the net.

In Roland Garros, was hard for me to believe that I could beat Rafa. Today was not easier, but I believed it more. I think these two tournaments have sort of made my self-belief to win a Grand Slam grow.

Hopefully these two experiences can help me. I guess I hope I don't play a Spanish player if I ever reach another slam final (smiling). They know what they're doing in the slam finals. Let's hope for another than a Spanish.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
124663-1-1145 2022-09-12 01:24:00 GMT

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