ATP under-25 No. 4: Casper Ruud
Casper Ruud is number four on this list because even though he has made the finals of several recent Grand Slams, one wonders if he is simply good enough to get to the final but not really good enough to get over the hump. Not that there is any shame in who Ruud has lost to in those finals, though. In 2022, he lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, Ruud lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open final last year, and he lost to Novak Djokovic in this year’s final of the French Open.
The thing is that when Ruud gets to the final of a slam, he gets wiped out in matches that aren’t close. In 10 possible sets against Djokovic, Alcaraz, and Nadal, Ruud has won just one set. There just appears to be a cravasse between Ruud’s top level and other players of high-level tennis.
One might also assume that when Ruud participates in tournaments where he doesn’t face the other three players mentioned above that he might dominate those tourneys. But Ruud, though is in ranked inside the top five on the ATP circuit, has won just one tournament in 2023 (the Estoril Open against not-great competition) and three in 2022. He has won 10 ATP tour finals, but nine have come on clay.
Ruud is also 24 years old – certainly not old by any stretch unless it is in comparison to the other players on this list – and might have missed out on his chance to win a major already. He is clearly not as good as Alcararz and the other three players listed here might surpass him too as well. Ruud will be a good player for a long time on the ATP, but he might just not win any majors.