US Open: Carlos Alcaraz v Casper Ruud final ‘best thing to happen in tennis,’ says top analyst
Alex Corretja believes Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz battling it out for the US Open title and world number one is ‘the best thing that can happen to tennis.’
Men’s tennis has long been dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and debate has raged about how the sport will cope when they are gone.
That time is growing ever nearer, though, and Ruud and Alcaraz are among a plethora of incredibly talented youngsters coming through to the very top now.
The ATP are guaranteed a new major winner and a new world number one this week, and former world number two says it really could be a ‘special’ time in tennis.
“For the tennis world, it’s massive that they will play in the finals at the US Open and fight to be the number one,” Corretja told Eurosport. “It is huge news, competing at the Grand Slam final for the first time against each other, and fighting for the number one at the US Open – that will be unbelievable.
“That will be probably the best thing that can happen to our sport, it is unbelievable they play against each other. That’s not me saying Tiafoe versus Khachanov wouldn’t have been a good final, but definitely fighting for the number one will be something very special.”
Alex Corretja on Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz will go into the US Open final as favourite given he has won both matches against Casper Ruud so far.
He has played three five-set thrillers in a row and is capturing the imagination of the tennis public in a way not seen since the Big Three came through.
“Well, he’s an overall player, he can play no matter who you are or where you are,” Corretja said. “He has the desire to be the best.
“He’s moving extremely well and it’s very important to do that on this surface and against players who hit the ball so hard. His game is very explosive, it’s very difficult to find spots to win a point against him because he usually dictates a lot.
“ It depends a lot on him, and no matter who he plays, it seems like he’s always going to have the chance to go for the winners.
“For me, the exhibition he played the other night against Sinner was unbelievable because they brought tennis to different levels. They were hitting the ball so hard, with few mistakes, very precise and maybe Sinner had a better serve which helped him so much to stay in the match.
“But for Alcaraz to beat Sinner the way the Italian played was a great effort because Jannik as hitting the ball huge from both sides – forehand, backhand, serve.”
Alex Corretja on Casper Ruud
Casper Ruud has change opinions of him this season, with many around the sport previously pigeonholing him as a clay specialise.
Corretja, though, says that has always been a misunderstood label.
“Well this is always a debate that I have had with many journalists,” he said. “There is confusion about this word “specialist”.
“It is clear that Casper Ruud is a clay court specialist but that doesn’t mean that he’s a clay court player. Being a clay court specialist is okay, Rafa Nadal is a clay court specialist because he knows how to play on it better than anyone else. But that doesn’t mean he’s a clay court player.
“What I feel is Casper shouldn’t be called a clay court player. Casper is an overall player but he has developed his game probably a little bit better on clay because the way he plays adjusts better to that surface.
“But, of course, he proved that on hard courts that he is going to be so tough to beat because when you are a good clay court player then you adjust to hard courts much easier. You know how to develop the game better because you understand the game better.
“If the hard courts helps you to win some more service points and to hit some winners, it’s easier than to play on clay. But if you suffer every point on clay that gives you the chance to then be extra good or hard courts – you will move well, and it’s going to be difficult to beat you.
“Of course, he’s not a clay court player. He’s an extremely good player, but he’s a clay court specialist – this is the only confusion that people don’t understand. that this is the how do you call like when it’s like.”
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