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“Only one more spot to conquer” for Ruud after finishing runner-up to Alcaraz at US Open 2022

Casper Ruud of Norway is new world No. 2. (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

The 2022 U.S. Open final was historic in that it was a matchup that decided not only a first-ever Grand Slam title for either player but also the No. 1 ranking. Whoever prevailed between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud would take over the top spot–also for the first time.

Ruud made a run to the French Open final this spring, so this wasn’t his maiden slam final like it was for Alcaraz. Still, on a surface much less favorable for him than clay, the Norwegian was a considerable underdog. Of course, just going that far was already an improbable feat; why not go a little farther? Ruud gave it his best, holding three set points to take a two sets to one lead, but eventually succumbed to Alcaraz 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-3 after exactly three hours.

For his efforts, Ruud climbed from seventh in the world to a career-best No. 2. It’s a mark with which he is understandably satisfied, but also one that leaves him motivated for more.

“At the moment he’s the best player in the world in my eyes,” the 23-year-old said of Alcaraz. “He deserves that spot. I’m happy that we played each other in the final and that we played for the title and the world No. 1 spot. I think it’s deserving that after great results, both of us having good results throughout the year, we are 1 and 2 in the rankings.

“I’m very proud of being No. 2. In a way it’s a good thing because I can still chase the last spot. There’s only one more spot to conquer.”

There are, however, a lot more accomplishments to be made–and ones the must be made if Ruud wants to surpass Alcaraz while also fending off the likes off Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, and Novak Djokovic. The Oslo native has still never won an ATP title above the 250 level. He has nine of those trophies but is 0-2 in slam finals and 0-1 at Masters 1000s (also lost to Alcaraz in Miami earlier this season). He has never advanced to a 500 final.

At this rate, though, much bigger titles are on the way.

“I’m proud of the [the way I played in the final} and the two weeks,” Ruud reflected. “I gave it all. I left it all out on the court. Played some phenomenal tennis throughout the two weeks, probably my best tennis ever on this surface. So I’m very happy in the end. We’ll hopefully get another chance at a slam in the future.” 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.