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Casper Ruud has told everyone to ignore the rankings as Novak Djokovic is still ‘pretty much every tournament’ he plays.

Djokovic has been forced to play a reduced schedule this year due to he decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19. That has seen him miss, among other tournaments, both the US Open and the Australian Open. His ranking has naturally dropped as a result.

However, Ruud has warned that the rankings are deceptive, and Djokovic remains the best player on the planet.

“I think tennis-wise he's played great,” Ruud said of Djokovic. “He's just been very unfortunate with the situation and how things have played out due to points, not being able to enter many countries, which has hurt him a lot on the rankings.

“But to me he will always be one of the best, if not the best player out there and always the favourite in pretty much every tournament he shows up to.

“I think he has shown that this year; he won Wimbledon, he won these two tournaments a couple of weeks ago, and in Rome. Tennis wise, I think he has done great only playing, I don't know, eight, nine tournaments. He's close to top five in the world.

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The fact Novak Djokovic has been able to finish the season in the top eight despite being unable to earn ranking points from three Grand Slams and four Masters is testament to just how good he still is.

With Covid restrictions lightening around the world, 2023 should be a year of far greater opportunity for Djokovic, and Ruud would not be surprised to see him return to the top of the rankings again.

“Let's see how next year plays out,” he said. “I hope that he can be able to enter these countries again and that he can play a full year.

“In my eyes, he's pretty much always a favourite to win, except for maybe Roland Garros where the King Rafa is always going to be the favourite there.

“But on hard courts, grass, he's always up there being one of the favourites to win the tournaments and he said he wants to show the young guys that he's still there, he's still present.”

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