‘Very hard worker and a nice guy,’ Novak Djokovic lavishes praise on Casper Ruud before their semifinal showdown in Rome

20-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic lauds Casper Ruud ahead of their semifinal clash at the Rome Masters.

Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud
Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

World No.1 Novak Djokovic was tested in the quarterfinal of the Rome Masters but in the end, came out the victor against a valiant Felix Auger Aliassime. The Serb won the match in straight sets 7-5,7-6(1) to reach the semifinal at Foro Italico for the 13th time and is just 2 wins away from a 6th title in Rome. With this, Djokovic also registered his 999th career win and is just one win away from becoming the 5th man in tennis history to win 1000 tour matches.

In the post-match interview, Djokovic lauded Felix’s fighting abilities and said that he should’ve finished the match earlier but the Canadian responded well under pressure. He also praised the energetic Roman crowd.

“I thought I could have finished the job [against Auger-Aliassime] earlier,” Djokovic said. “I was a set and 5-2 up and was serving for the match, but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight.”

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‘We get along well off the court’: Novak Djokovic on Casper Ruud

Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud
Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud

Djokovic will now face Casper Ruud in the semifinal on Saturday. In the press conference, Djokovic spoke highly of Ruud’s skills on the red dirt and lauded his growth over the years. He also termed Ruud as a very hard-working guy and revealed that they get along pretty well off the court.

“Great quality opponent again,” Djokovic said. “Clay-court specialist, but he has improved a lot in other surfaces, played the final of Miami this year. Just a very hard worker, a nice guy.”

“We practice a lot and get along well off the court. Tomorrow obviously on the court we want to win against each other, no doubt… Hopefully, I can play as well as I did tonight.”

With the win over Felix, Djokovic has secured his No.1 ranking and will enter Roland Garros as the top seed ahead of Daniil Medvedev.

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