Ruud Relishing Return To Action At ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 30, 2021

Casper Ruud believes Norway is in a good position to have a strong run at the 16-team ATP Cup as he looks to guide Norway out of Group A in Sydney.

Ruud enjoyed a standout 2021 season, winning five tour-level titles and becoming the first Norwegian to crack the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 23-year-old is the highest-ranked player in Group A and is relishing the opportunity to return to match action.

“I have three good matches to start the year, so I’m just happy to get to play some matches again,” Ruud said in Norway’s pre-tournament press conference. “Hopefully I can bring some wins for the team. I’m not going to think too much about the pressure, but I’m coming here a better player than two years ago, so I will maybe feel some pressure.”

In the inaugural edition of ATP Cup in 2020, Norway played Italy, the United States and Russia. Despite finishing third in the group, Ruud earned two wins. The World No. 8 Ruud and No. 2 singles player Viktor Durasovic both believe they will benefit from their prior experience at this year’s event.

“We were underdogs in every match we played,” Ruud said. I was able to get two good wins in Perth, which was kind of the beginning of a good year for me.”

“[It was] definitely a lot of fun, even though it was hard to enjoy to the max, because of obviously experiencing something new,” Durasovic added. “But I had few experiences like that [at the time], so I’m hoping that those experiences can prepare me a little better this time for the challenges ahead.”

Norway begins its 2022 ATP Cup quest on Saturday against Serbia, before also facing Chile and Spain. Christian Ruud, Norway’s captain, is preparing his squad of son Casper, Durasovic, Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen, Leyton Rivera and Andreja Petrovic for a hard week.

“I think we look very much forward to coming here again and playing for the second time,” captain Ruud said. “Of course we play a strong team in the first round, but I think all the players on the Norwegian team have developed. I think we are coming here with also positive energy and I believe we can win more matches this year also.”

Before arriving in Australia, Ruud’s team was training in colder conditions in Norway, but the former World No. 39 does not feel this has hampered their preparations.

“We have been practicing indoors [in Norway] and it’s cold,” Ruud said “I think only Leyton was playing some tournaments in Doha, so all others are coming from Norway with the winter. So it’s a little bit difficult, but we have done it a couple of times now before, so the players are good at adapting to the heat and outdoors. It shouldn’t be a problem for us.”

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