'There's One Thing That They Do Opposite': Ruud Explains How Alcaraz & Djokovic Differ

'There's One Thing That They Do Opposite': Ruud Explains How Alcaraz & Djokovic Differ

by Nurein Ahmed

Two-time Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud shared an insight on how rivals Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz differ despite embodying a similar pragmatic approach on the court.

Very few players can attest to the true tennis qualities of Djokovic and Alcaraz, and Ruud is one of them. The Norwegian has played five times against the Serb and four times against the Spaniard and in high-stakes matches but has largely been unsuccessful in getting a single win.

Nevertheless, Ruud was able to evaluate the approach and the games of both men, lavishing praise for their dominance. Djokovic has won a record 24 Grand Slams, and even as he gets near the age of 37, his grasp of the men's World No. 1 has not loosened.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, has been paraded as the brightest new face of men's tennis. He defeated Ruud to win his first Grand Slam at the 2022 US Open and added to his major collection at last year's Wimbledon when he ended Novak Djokovic's reign as a four-time defending champion.

Ruud opined that the duo are similar players, but one key difference to note is that both play at different paces. The former World No. 2 stated that Alcaraz plays tennis at a breakneck speed, relying so much on his attacking game.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is one of the best defensive players but extremely versatile as he has mastered every trick of the book, according to current World No. 12.

"Carlos and Novak, they kind of play similar tennis in a way. Just there’s one thing that they do opposite. I mean, they have kind of all shots in the book. But Carlos maybe plays at a little higher speed in the way he can accelerate even more. But they move great. They have all shots. It’s tough to find their weaknesses."

"They both have a good drop shot. Carlos plays maybe more forehands, Novak defends from the backhand side. They’re good enough as it is on the net. They’ve got good hand skills and their returns are great."

Alcaraz and Djokovic have played each other five times on the ATP Tour, with the experienced Serb holding a 3-2 lead. Only one of four meetings has been decided in straight sets, and Ruud has been excited watching this matchup unfold into one of the biggest on the men's tour in the last two years.

"So obviously, it’s always going to be a good match-up whenever they play each other. And you’ve seen it in the past four times that they’ve played. It’s always been a really, really good match. It’s a match-up that is going to be a treat for fans and who knows for how many years. When they play, it’s going to be interesting."


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