Is Carlos Alcaraz vs Casper Ruud the new Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic rivalry in Tennis?

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After an exhausting yet successful campaign at the US Open, Carlos Alcaraz finds himself at the top of the ATP rankings. He is ahead of the second-placed Casper Ruud who also lost to him in the US Open final.

2022 09 12 1 1
Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud

Carlos Alcaraz is just 19 years old while Casper Ruud is 23. So we are going to see them mesmerize us with their absolutely remarkable tennis skills for a number of years. They have shown enough glimpses of being powerhouse players who the fans will pay to watch and what separates them from their talented contemporaries is their consistency.

The Spanish Sensation – Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz Hamburg Open
Carlos Alcaraz

Both Alcaraz and Ruud have had a sensational season thus far. The Spaniard has won five titles. He won his first title in 2022 at the Rio Open. He defeated Ruud in the finals of the Miami Open to win his second title in the year. Alcaraz’s third title came at the Barcelona Open and fourth at the Madrid Open.

A concern that fans were discussing was that the youngster wasn’t being able to replicate his ATP Tour performances at the Grand Slams. However, that all changed at the US Open this year. Alcaraz entered the tournament as one of the favorites and defeated some other contenders in grueling matches en route to his first major title.

After the win, Alcaraz became the ATP’s youngest-ever No. 1 player at the age of 19 years and 129 days. Lleyton Hewitt previously held the record for being the youngest No. 1 player at the age of 20 years and 9 months. The Spaniard also became the second-youngest US Open champion after Pete Sampras who won at Flushing Meadows in 1990, being only 19 years and 15 days old. Alcaraz is also the youngest Grand Slam champion since Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open.

The Norwegian Superstar – Casper Ruud

RuudX
2JA07NC Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 26, 2022 Norway’s Casper Ruud celebrates after winning his second round match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Casper Ruud might not have the same flamboyance in his game as Alcaraz but he is as good as they come. The 23-year-old won his first title in 2022 at the Argentina Open after defeating Diego Schwartzman in the final. He bagged his second title at the Geneva Open. Ruud, who has established himself as a spectacular player on clay, reached his maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open. However, he was outplayed by the legendary Rafael Nadal, who won his 14th French Open title.

After an underwhelming Wimbledon campaign, Ruud got back to winning ways as he won the Swiss Open. He was quite impressive at the US Open and answered his critics who called him a clay specialist in grand style. Ruud defeated the likes of Kyle Edmund, Tim van Rijthoven, Tommy Paul, Corentin Moutet, Matteo Berrettini, and Karen Khachanov en route to the final. His stunning run was ended by a rampant Alcaraz in the final.

The winner of the all-important final was set to be crowned the new No. 1 in the ATP rankings. The Spaniard took the title and the No. 1 ranking as Ruud had to be content with the runner-up prize and the second spot in the rankings. However, he showed enough signs of becoming an iconic player in the future, who would have numerous major titles in his kitty.

Comparing the Alcaraz-Ruud rivalry to the legendary Nadal-Djokovic rivalry

Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are two of the best tennis players the world has ever seen. They have won a total of 43 Grand Slam titles and are still showing no signs of stopping at the twilight of their careers.

Nadal and Djokovic have faced each other on 59 occasions. The head-to-head stands at 30-29 in favor of the Serbian. The Spaniard has an 11-7 lead at majors. At the French Open, Nadal leads 8-2 and at the US Open, he leads 2-1. At the Australian Open, Djokovic is unbeaten against the southpaw with a 2-0 lead and at Wimbledon, he is 2-1 ahead.

Alcaraz leads the head-to-head by a healthy 3-0 margin. Ruud needs to do the catch-up. However, these two will come up against each other on many occasions over the next few years. The Norwegian superstar has the ability to turn the tide in his favor. It is still quite early to call this rivalry the new Nadal-Djokovic rivalry. However, it sure has the potential to reach those lofty standards in the near future.

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