Coaches Corner

Coach Clar-Rosello: Ruud Ready To Shine Again At Roland Garros

Spaniard analyses the World No. 4’s season so far
May 31, 2023
Casper Ruud in first-round action against Elias Ymer on Tuesday at Roland Garros.
Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images
Casper Ruud in first-round action against Elias Ymer on Tuesday at Roland Garros. By Rafael Plaza

Editor's note: This story was translated from

In 2022, Casper Ruud was one win away from becoming the No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. That was not the Norwegian’s only achievement in a season that included three titles (Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad) and a further four championship matches: in Miami and at Roland Garros, the US Open, and the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

It was the best year of Ruud’s career, and something of a double-edged sword for 2023; this season, Ruud is facing the challenge of defending his haul of Pepperstone ATP Ranking points.

“We knew it would be a difficult year, although we believed he had the level to repeat everything he did in 2022,” explained Pedro Clar-Rossello, Ruud’s coach, after the fourth seed’s first-round win against Elias Ymer on Tuesday at Roland Garros. “Always playing at the top level is not easy. This year, the preseason was a little different, but we thought he would start the year well. In the first tournaments that was not the case, and it led to a slight loss of confidence.”

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At the beginning of the season, Ruud won one match and lost his other at the United Cup, fell at the first hurdle in Auckland and at the second at the Australian Open and in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami.

“It wasn’t easy, but he is a level-headed person and he kept working just as hard as before,” said Clar-Rossello. “Little by little, he’s started to find his game. He’s getting increasingly close and gaining confidence. In terms of his tennis, he’s not doing anything different, but his confidence dipped a little and that can sometimes be decisive.

“Of course, in matches the frustration, nerves and doubt have been a little more evident. From day to day, he is working just as much or more than last year. He still asks us how he can improve. That helps him in difficult moments. Above all, he is still convinced that he is doing things right. His calm nature helps him maintain emotional stability. I’ve always said it; It’s a delight to work with him and the rest of the team.”

Comparisons will always be there, but Clar-Rossello is in no doubt that Ruud’s chances are still intact, and that the Norwegian is ready to deploy his A-game.

“He reaches the final at Roland Garros and then it seems like if he doesn’t do that at every tournament, it’s a bad result,” said the Spaniard. “Last year, before Rome, it seemed like he was having a bad clay swing, so to speak. Then he reached the semis, won in Geneva and got to the final here. I think he is more confident than at the start of the year, and I think he is focused enough to have a good tournament in Paris.”

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Through constant hard work while maintaining an even keel, the Norwegian’s team know that all they can do is to stay on the right path and not give up on their ambitious goals. After all, their player has already demonstrated exactly what he is capable of.

“Expectations grow,” confirmed Clar-Rossello. “You are kind of obliged to do well. There is more external pressure, and as much as you try to avoid it, it’s always there. You have to live with it, and you have to defend all the good results from the previous year.

“In terms of objectives, of course finishing as high as possible is always a goal. Being in the Top 10 is difficult, even though he was one match away from being No. 1. There are a lot of good players, and this year there are a few more than last season. The main goal is to stay in the Top 10, to be up there in the Grand Slams and to end the year by qualifying for Turin again.”

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