Casper Ruud says Carlos Alcaraz’s increasing maturity is making him an even more dangerous player, as he told Eurosport’s Ruud Talk how the Wimbledon champion has learnt to rein in his “crazy shots”.
The Norwegian, who is battling for a place at the season-ending ATP Finals at the Paris Masters this week, also spoke about Boris Becker’s link-up with fellow Scandinavian Holger Rune – and the potential of Ben Shelton.
The world No. 8 has always been impressed with the Wimbledon champion, but noticed a difference when they matched up in China recently.
“I think he’s more mature. He seems a little bigger, a little stronger physically,” Casper told Eurosport’s Barbara Schett on Ruud Talk.
“Obviously, he plays so aggressive and so great, but sometimes it seems like he might beat himself a little. He goes for almost too much, at least in my eyes.
“I am not going to criticise him any more than this, because he’s a great player. But sometimes when you hit all these crazy shots, it’s kind of tempting to go for an even crazier one. But I think he’s understood that most matches won’t be won by playing crazy shot after crazy shot.
“It’s more about stability, and I think he’s playing more calmly than before, and that can be dangerous when you have the strength and power combined with the cleverness on court we’ve seen this year. It’s a great combo.”
Ruud has also been impressed with the development of Ben Shelton, following the American’s impressive breakout on tour. The 21-year-old began the season having never been abroad, but he has risen to a top-20 player who reached the semi-finals of the US Open and the last eight of the Australian Open.
“He really impresses me. He never gives up. He keeps fighting, keeps hustling, and I’ve seen it many times before – he has a great attitude,” said Ruud.
“You kind of feel surprised how fast it’s gone for him. But I’m not surprised at the same time. He’s going to be dangerous for years to come and he is going to improve.
“As long as he keeps the right attitude and keeps working hard, there’s no limit [to what he can achieve]. I wish I had that arm [for his serve], it’s like 140-145mph. So it seems like a dream.”
“It’s a cool match-up. Two cool characters together. Boris is someone that can bring experience,” said Ruud.
“He’s a great player already, and has very, very big potential but he’s still young. So maybe that’s what he’s lacking mostly – some experience from someone who’s done great things for many, many years, like Boris.”
Ruud needs a good run at the Paris Masters to be in with a shot of reaching the season-ending ATP Finals. Although he is ranked eighth, he is 11th in the race for Turin. Ruud has a bye into round two, where he will face either Gael Monfils or Francisco Cerundolo.
“It’s not looking great for me unless I do really well here in Paris. Obviously, there’s still a chance,” said Ruud.
“I remember some years ago, when Jack Sock won in Paris, and he made the finals a little bit out of no expectations. So I think I’m just going to play this week and just enjoy it. The end of the season is near and I will try to do one last push and finish the season strongly.”
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