Cameron Norrie snubs Djokovic with bold French Open statement in wake of defeat

Cameron Norrie snubs Djokovic with bold French Open statement in wake of defeat

Cameron Norrie went out on a limb as he made a bold prediction about the French Open in the wake of defeat. The British No. 1 became Casper Ruud’s latest victim as he lost to the 25-year-old at the Madrid Open. Ruud is now on a seven-match winning streak and Norrie told Express Sport that his opponent is the favourite for next Grand Slam instead of the likes of Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.

Ruud hasn’t let up after an impressive start to the clay-court swing. The world No. 6 reached the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters and won his biggest career title at the Barcelona Open before coming to Madrid and continuing his rampage.

The 25-year-old has only dropped 11 games in his first two matches at the Madrid Open, including a 6-2 6-4 victory over Norrie on Monday. Ruud got revenge after losing to the world No. 30 at the Australian Open at the start of the year, though Norrie knew his opponent would be a lot more dangerous on the clay.

And after facing the wrath of an in-form Ruud on his favourite surface, the Brit declared his opponent the favourite for the French Open, forgetting about defending champion Djokovic. “He always does well here in Madrid and he hit his backhand unbelievably well today, I was really impressed,” Norrie told Express Sport in the wake of defeat.

“I came in there a lot, he passed me a few times and I’m not sure he missed too many backhands today, maybe one in the first game and that’s all I can remember so it was an impressive level from him. And I would say he’s the favourite for the tournament and probably favourite for French Open as well.”

Ruud’s form throughout the clay swing has somewhat surprised Norrie as he added: “It was a really good level from Casper, I was impressed with how well he’s he played. Obviously really confident, playing really, really well in Monte Carlo and Barcelona so I was a bit surprised with that and how well he came out. And I took it to him in the second set I was a little bit disappointed with the final game but good lesson.”

Meanwhile, Ruud was happy to avenge his Australian Open defeat to Norrie, echoing the Brit’s assessment that he benefitted from playing on the clay. “I think [he hit] a bit more unforced errors than what I’ve seen him do before, especially the match in Australia,” the two-time French Open finalist said.

“I was really prepared for a tough match and it always is but obviously in Australia I lost so I wanted my revenge as well and kind of happy we’re playing on clay. I’m feeling confident on the surface at the moment and I was playing some good clay-court tennis out there. His backhand is very unique, very flat and low, but on the clay it’s maybe not as effective as on hard court where it kind of skids off the ground a little more so I have a little extra time to set up my shots so that kind of was in my favour on this surface.”

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