Casper Ruud makes ‘clueless’ Nadal admission in Djokovic comparison

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

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Tennis star Casper Ruud has made the admission that he felt ‘clueless’ against 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal during last year’s French Open final. Spanish star Nadal has won 92 ATP singles titles, with 63 of those coming on clay courts and has been labelled the ‘King of Clay’ due to his prowess on the surface.

World No.4 Ruud was beaten in the final of last year’s French Open 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 by Nadal – who also beat Novak Djokovic on his way to winning a 14th title at Roland-Garros. Ruud said he felt ‘clueless’ and ‘chanceless’ as Nadal beat him in straight sets in his first Grand Slam final.

“Rafa on clay has been the one that really, I felt clueless what to do and chanceless as well,” Ruud said ahead of this week’s Indian Wells Masters tournament. “It was really a one-way show, we played at Roland-Garros last year, and particularly best-of-five sets is really difficult.

“Every point being thrown at you with an incredible amount of top spin and how Rafa just locks you in one corner. You feel like you’re on his home ground and in his backyard.”

Ruud has also felt the force of fellow 22-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic, meeting the Serbian on four occasions and failing to win a set from the world No.1. The Norwegian star says his compliments about Nadal take nothing away from Djokovic who won a record 10th Australian Open crown in January.

Ruud added: “Not taking anything away from Novak because whenever it is important on a hard court, he steps up. He’ll break you or play some unreal rally.” Nadal is missing from this week’s Indian Wells Masters due to a hip injury which he sustained during the Australian Open.

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Djokovic was forced to withdraw from this week’s Indian Wells tournament after his application for a ‘special permit’ to enter America amid continued Covid travel restrictions in the country was refused. Currently all visitors to America require a Covid vaccination and Djokovic is non-vaccinated.

Ruud could meet Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz – who beat him in last year’s US Open final – at this week’s competition with valuable ranking points at stake. He says the Masters 1,000 tournament ‘seems like a Grand Slam’ due to the Stadium 1 main court being a 16,000 seater stadium.

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