Casper Ruud will make his second ATP Cup appearance this week as he leads Norway at the 16-team event in Sydney.
The 23-year-old, who earned wins against John Isner and Fabio Fognini on his tournament debut in 2020, arrives in Australia following a standout 2021 season, in which he won five tour-level titles.
Ahead of his opening Group A match against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, Ruud spoke to ATPTour.com about team dynamics, his earliest tennis memories and more.
If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
I think our number two player Viktor [Durasovic] has a very good return of serve, so when we practise, it always amazes me how well he can return the ball. I feel I can serve well but he just slaps them back, so that is one shot I envy him for.
Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
It is a very easy answer, it is Lukas [Hellum-Lilleengen]. He is always late; we tell him but he never learns.
What countryman inspired you when you were younger to get into tennis?
I think my father is an obvious choice. But I never got to watch him on Tour because I was too young and he retired too early for me to have any memories of him on Tour.
When I grew up it was mostly winter sports athletes that were dominating a little bit in the sports world in Norway. We have an alpine skier, who I didn’t look up to with my tennis, but as a good athlete and nice person. His name is Aksel Lund Svindal. He just retired a couple of years ago and I have met him and played tennis with him and he is a really nice guy. He shows a little bit of what Norway is about with his attitude and aura is very nice.
Tell me about your first tennis club in Norway?
My first tennis club was a nice one. Quite a small one a little bit outside Oslo where I grew up. It is close to the sea, so it can get windy at times and I think that experience helps me to this day dealing with the wind. We had five outdoor clay courts and five indoor hard courts.
I played inside the bubble, which was quite cold in the winter because sometimes the heating pump didn’t work, so it was quite cold some days. I don’t miss those practices.
It was easier in the summer because we had more courts. But indoors it was three courts inside this bubble and it was freezing. You had this big echo, which was a good thing because you feel like you hit the ball so hard. Even when I was young I got that echo going.
Three things you love about Norway?
It is my home; it is where I grew up. The people are nice and the food is great. We are a small country of only five million people, so it is nice where I grew up that everyone knows each other. It is calm. I enjoy living in a country that has four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall.
I always recommend people to come in the summer because it is beautiful when you can go to the coast and you go to the fjords and also up north you have the midnight sun when the sun never goes down. It is about to go down and then changes and comes up again, so you never have complete dark in the north, so that is quite fun to experience.
On the fjords and west coast of Norway, I have never been able to go myself. But I need to do it at some time, it is just tennis has been everything since I was young and I never had the time. After my career, I will probably go on more trips in my country.