Road to Boston: Casper Ruud, Team Europe
Casper Ruud enters his first Laver Cup for Team Europe on the back of a stellar season, the first Norwegian to break into the top 30 last September and now, following the US Open, a recent career- high move into the Top 10.
Coached by his father Christian, a former top 50 player, 22-year-old Ruud’s consistency and hard work gives Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg an exciting option when choosing his lineup.
“I’m not the guy with the biggest game or the flashy shots,” he says. “But, you know, just being steady, playing every point like it really matters I think has been working out well… to play every point like your life depends on it.”
How the year started
Ruud reached the second week at a major for the first time at the Australian Open in February, forced to retire in the fourth round with an abdominal injury against Andrey Rublev.
Fully recovered by April, he beat higher-ranked opponents at the Monte Carlo Masters including seventh seed Diego Schwartzman, No.12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta and No.15 Fabio Fognini, before eventually falling to Andrey Rublev in the semifinals.
More clay-court success followed at the ATP 250 in Munich, where he reached the semifinals, then dashed to the last four of the Madrid Masters without dropping a set. On the way, Ruud notched his first win over a top-five opponent, Team Europe teammate Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the Round of 16, having dispatched Team World’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in his opening match.
Four titles in quick succession on clay
By mid-year, Ruud was in full swing, dominating on clay to collect titles at Geneva (defeating Team World’s Denis Shapovalov in the final), Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel.
“He’s someone that serves very well, has a very good serve-and-first-ball pattern that works really well for him,” noted Tsitsipas, who exacted revenge on the Madrid defeat by toppling Ruud in the quarterfinals of the Toronto Masters in August.
How it’s going
Ahead of his debut at Laver Cup 2021, Ruud continued to demonstrate growing confidence on hard court. He headed into the US Open with a consecutive quarterfinal showing on the North American swing, knocking out Team World’s Reilly Opelka and Diego Schwartzman respectively at Cincinnati, stopped only by the in-form German, Alexander Zverev, who joins Ruud in Boston on the Team Europe roster.
Ruud began his US Open campaign with a straight-sets victory over Yuichi Sugita before going out to Dutch player Botic van de Zandschulp in four sets. Overall, the Norwegian’s season of consistency bodes well for Laver Cup duties.
Ruud on playing Laver Cup
Ruud said he is honored to compete under the guidance his fellow Scandinavian, Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg, in Boston.
“I am looking forward to the challenge and will do all I can to contribute the best I can and bring home the win for us this year,” Ruud said.