Six Things To Know About Casper Ruud
#NextGenATP player Casper Ruud has caused a stir at the Rio Open, where he defeated Rogerio Dutra Silva to claim his first ATP World Tour win. Ahead of his second-round contest with Roberto Carballes Baena, we present the need-to-know on the 18-year-old Norwegian.
1. Tennis Is In His DNA
His father, Christian Ruud, was a Top 50 professional tennis player. He reached his career-high No. 39 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 9 October 1995, and finished his career with 115 tour-level victories.
"I have a great relationship with my father," said Ruud. "Sometimes in the world of sport it isn't easy to have such a strong relationship, but for us it's marvellous.
"We are both very competitive and both love to win at everything. We do it with the greatest respect and it's a healthy rivalry. He is an essential part of my team. I don't feel any pressure that he was a professional player. In fact, it's the opposite; it has helped me a lot."
2. He Scored His First ATP Win At A 500 Tournament
His first victory came in his third ATP World Tour tournament. "It's been great," said Ruud. "Not just winning my first match, but having the chance to be here and playing in an ATP World Tour 500. I am the lowest-ranked player in the draw, so I'm the underdog in every match and that's more comfortable for me. I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard."
3. He Is Already A Rising Star In Norway
"Norwegians really like to see young, home-grown talent making progress," said Ruud. "We have Martin Odegaard, who plays for Real Madrid, as well as one of the best skiers in the world, and now they are starting to enjoy tennis. It's great for the Federation and for us. If people enjoy following me, then that's great!”
4. He's On A Rapid Rise
After turning professional in 2015, Ruud is a player who has got the most out of every experience in all levels of professional tennis. He won his first ITF Futures in Paguera, Spain, in February 2016. In his first ATP Challenger Tour event in Seville, also last year, he came through qualifying and ended up winning the title (d. Daniel).
In one year, the teenager jumped from outside the Top 1,000 to the verge of the Top 200 and also secured the prestigious No. 1 mantle on the junior circuit.
5. His Coach Is Spanish
Pedro Rico has been Ruud's coach for two years. With the Spaniard, Ruud has made rapid progress. The partnership gels perfectly between the passionate Spaniard and the cool and calm Scandinavian. "The phrase I hear the most in Team Casper is 'No Stress'," said Rico.
"Pedro is great," said Ruud. "He is helping me so much to get better, and together we have already gone from outside the Top 1,000 to be the No. 1 junior and close to the Top 200."
6. Milan Is His Goal For The Season
"For the young players, the Next Gen ATP Finals is the biggest event we can win,” said the 18-year-old Ruud. “It is a big motivation.
"Everyone wants to qualify and that means it won't be easy. It's too soon to think about it at the moment, but for me it would be a huge honour to participate."