Casper Ruud believes there will be greater opportunities to win Grand Slams when Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all retire from the men's game and he hopes to be part of the conversation.
Ruud reached his maiden Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros earlier this month before he was convincingly beaten by his childhood idol Rafael Nadal in straight sets as the Spaniard secured his 22nd Grand Slam title.
The Norwegian says reaching the final has given him a taste for greater success in Slams in the future.
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“Obviously playing in a Grand Slam final is not something that too many players have done in their careers,” he told Eurosport’s Barbara Schett and Alex Corretja on ‘Ruud Talk’.
“It’s sort of an elite club. Obviously the main goal is to win the Slam and not just to play in a final so that is an even more elite club.
“I played Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round and I remember him make his first Grand Slam final in Australia because as a Rafa fan I was a bit sad that he beat Rafa on his way to the final. Playing him then going on to reach a final. It was a fun little thing that happened there.
"It is something you can be remembered for a long time and for the rest of my career. At the same time you want to win one and that’s the main goal.
“Having played one final it feels like I’m closer to winning Grand Slam than I was two months ago.”
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Ruud believes there could be more opportunities available to him and other younger players on the tour when the big three retire from the sport.
He said: “It obviously gives me you motivation and self-belief but at the same time you have to be humble and not think you’re going to win a Slam because you reached the final. This is not the way it works. I will continue to work hard and think I need to take care of the chances I have.
“When Nadal, Djokovic and Federer, unfortunately for all of us, retire I think tennis will maybe be a little bit more open to who can win the big titles.
“There can be a group of players who will fight for more of the bigger titles. I hope I can be one of those players.
“We have to see what the future holds but it gives me self-belief that I can be a part of this group.”
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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