Ruud defeated Hukacz to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time. Photo EFE/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK
During his time at the beginning of the year in Buenos Aires, where he became champion for the second time in the Buenos Aires ATP, Casper Ruud He told Clarín that one of his great goals for 2022 is to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. The Oslo-born can now cross off that victory from his to-do list, thanks to his 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over the Polish Hubert Hurkacz13th in the ranking, entered that opportunity at Roland Garros and became the first Norwegian player to reach that round in the “big” French.
“It feels so good to achieve that goal. Now I want to keep playing and try to take more steps forward” commented Ruud, who will be looking for the semis against Dane Holger Rune40th in the ranking, 19 years old and winner over Stefanos Tsitsipas, fourth favorite, by 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 and 6-4.
“It’s a new achievement for Norway too. But when I’m playing the match, I’m not think about it too much. Not even now. I’m still in tournament mode and I don’t think about all those milestones. When the tournament is over, I will go back and think about what I did well and did my best result in a Grand Slam ”, he added.
The Norwegian keeps his feet on the ground. And it has been 23 years, he has been accustomed to making history. Until his emergence, no player from his country had won an ATP title, nor did he reach the top 10 in the world rankings (his father Christian, who was 39th, the best spot) or played in the ATP Finals. He broke all those records in just two seasons.
He added his first crown in 2020, in the land of Argentina, by defeating the Portuguese in the final Joao Sousa. He joined that elite group in September last year. And he played in November Masters Tournamentwhere he reached the semis and lost to Daniil Medvedev.
Now it has eight trophies in its showcases. In addition to the two -time winners Buenos Airesis the current two -time champion of Geneva (he won his second consecutive trophy in that competition more than a week ago, before traveling to Paris) and last year he also became champion in stop, gstaad, Kitzbühel Y San Diego (the only one on the hard courts). And located in the eighth step of the ranking (he was seventh last month), he already has his own place in the elite. But his life doesn’t just revolve around tennis. Born in Oslo is a man of eclecticism. One of the biggest, golf.
“I think it’s a perfect combination of competition and relaxation,” he reflected in February, in a chat with Clarín on BALTC. “True, if you play 18 holes and walk them, you can get tired, but you don’t have to run. In tennis you have to run on this side, on the other hand, hit it with the forehand, backhand … But in golf, you can relax, walk quietly and enjoy the moment. It’s perfect for those who love to play sports, but don’t always enjoy running. “
The Norwegian learned about this discipline thanks to his father, who is now his coach.
“When I was born, my dad was 26 years old. He was a young father who introduced me to many sports. I started playing golf when I was four or five years old. Now I try to play as much as I can. Tennis. “But if I have a day off from a tournament or weeks without competition, I always play. I also watch a lot of videos on the internet and, obviously, the competitions that are shown on television. It’s a huge passion,” he said.
He loves this sport so he set up a special Instagram account (@casper_golfer), where he just uploads photos and videos of himself and his friends playing in the big green field.
How good is he as a golfer? “Some days I play well, others quite badly,” he laughs admitting. However, he said he wanted to have a career in that sport, if he didn’t choose to follow in his father’s footsteps in the racket world.
“I can safely say that I will not try to make a career in golf after my career in tennis. But if I have to choose something to do other than tennis first, I will choose to be a professional golfer. I want life of professional athletes and the ability to travel the world, doing things with the ball, ”he said.
Always encouraged by his father, as a boy, he also played ice hockey (he was a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, current NHL champion) and practiced skiing. And he is also good at soccer ball.
But it also has an artistic side. “When I was young, I used to draw and I enjoyed it. I tried to paint, but it was very hard. So I kept drawing. It was a good way to switch off and focus on doing something on your own. I did. “I haven’t drawn in a long time, because it takes a lot of time and patience. I need to refresh my memory to continue it,” he commented.
A novice golfer, sports enthusiast and a great actor, Ruud has many aspects. Although the most distinctive is, without a doubt, the tennis player.
With a great forehand and a solid two-handed backhand, from his years training at Rafael Nadal’s academy in Mallorca (where he is still based on the European clay court tour), he exploded on the circuit as a slow-court specialist. . But in recent seasons, his game has changed and he is now an all-rounder and one of the most competitive players on tour.
Right-handed and solid two-handed backhand, Ruud spent several years playing his tennis at Nadal’s academy. Photo EFE/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK
Now, at every step he takes, he writes the history of “Viking” tennis and one of the youngest champions of Norwegian school sports, which, based on a national sports policy that puts children at the center of the system and governs . in simple concept, “Success is achieved through patronage, not competition”, never tires of making great athletes. Even in a discipline like tennis, which doesn’t have much tradition in that country.
“Playing tennis in Norway is not easy. In the summer there is no problem. But we have a very long winter, five or six months and there are not many clubs with indoor courts. But that does not mean that the players are good. will not be able to get out .. I have been working with my team for several years to get to the position I am in now “, commented the number eight in the world, a multi -faceted athlete who, at the age of 23, is the best. Norwegian players all the time.