Casper Ruud and Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2023

Casper Ruud reveals he is ‘in a state of shock’ after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time

Casper Ruud has beaten Novak Djokovic for the first time in his career, with the Norwegian revealing that he is ‘in shock’ after reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final.

Ruud had lost his five previous matches against Djokovic, and had actually lost all 11 previous meetings against any player ranked inside the top three in the ATP rankings.

The three-time Grand Slam finalist had also lost all 25 sets against top three ranked players, but brought an end to that after beating world No.1 Djokovic, 6-4 1-6 6-4, with the match finishing on a double fault.

After reaching his first Monte Carlo Masters final, Ruud reflected on how he was feeling, “Just super happy, this is a day I will remember for a really long time – beating a world No. 1 is something I’ve never done, beating Novak is something I’ve never done. I’m just a little bit in a state of shock, I just didn’t want to let it slip away.”

Ruud continued, “When he missed the first serve, he’s saved so many break points in these moments with a huge second serve and I thought let it be a double fault. For me, it was nice to see that ball slip away.”

Despite beating Djokovic for the first time, Ruud was still full of praise for the 24-time Grand Slam champion and praised him as one of ‘the all-time players to try to beat’.

“In my eyes, [Djokovic is] of the all-time players to try to beat,” declared Ruud. “Today I was able to do it. Something I can remember for the rest of my life and tell hopefully my kids in the future and my grandkids when I’m getting old that, you know, I beat Novak one time at least.

“No one knows how long he plans to play for, but obviously he’s getting older, but he’s still physically in good shape and playing fantastic tennis. But it’s always fun to play against him, because, you know, it’s one of the toughest challenges in our sport.”

Ruud will look to win the biggest title of his career later today, with the world No.10 taking on two-time Monte Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Inside the baseline…

It is absolutely incredible that Casper Ruud has been in three Grand Slam finals, and was actually one win away from becoming world No.1 at the 2022 US Open, but had still not claimed a set against a top three player before yesterday. It is about time that Ruud wins a title above ATP 250 level, because he is more than capable, but it will not be easy as Stefanos Tsitsipas is a formidable force at this tournament.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.