Photo: Susan MullaneCasper Ruud (NOR)
Norway’s No. 2, Casper Ruud, could not get Norway’s first ever Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas appearance off to the perfect start they were hoping for. The Scandinavians faced a tough opponent in third seeded Germany and, although Ruud was competitive throughout the match, he could never get in front and put pressure on his opponent, Fabian Fallert, who scored the 76(4) 63 victory.
“It was a pretty good match for me.” Ruud said, “I didn’t expect to play my best because of the conditions and the altitude up here, but I was definitely into the match. I was a little bit unlucky at some points, maybe he won on my backhand side -- that was my weakness today.”
The altitude will be a test for all of the players this week in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The city has an altitude of more than 6,000 feet, a considerable difference to the 400 feet of Ruud’s hometown of Oslo, and compared with Tampa, where Ruud also trains, which has an altitude below 50 feet.
Casper’s father, Christian Ruud, reached No. 39 in the world in 1995 and was recently awarded a Davis Cup Commitment Award. Casper is coached by his father but claims he is not the sole reason he plays tennis.
“He (dad) made me start with tennis but I also played golf, soccer, but I always felt tennis was my passion and that tennis I enjoyed tennis the most of all my sports,” he said.
On the help he receives from having a parent who played the sport professionally, Casper said, “Of course, my dad helped me a lot. And I also thought it was a bit more fun to play tennis with not only the feet, but it’s the whole body. And I had a lot of friends playing tennis so everything leaned over to be tennis.”
Although his father is his coach of record, Ruud also receives support through the Norwegian Tennis Federation.
One extra bit of help is that the Ruud family still maintains their family home in Tampa, Fla., allowing Caspar to take advantage of the fine Sunshine State weather.
“We have a house there so in the winter we go over there and we have practice because it’s a bit too cold in Norway in the winter,” he said. “It’s nice to get the warm weather. There’s one academy just beside our house, not so big, but pretty good. And then I play some tournaments like the Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl, those tournaments, but mostly I practice.”
Casper’s main goal is to turn pro and become a top player: “I want to have a living off of my career so I can live off of my career after I’m finished, so I don’t need to do anything else to get money, you know. That’s the main goal. But also, maybe, Top 10 in the world.”
As previously mentioned, this is Norway’s first appearance in these Finals, and Casper is, understandably, proud to have been a part of that, “It feels good to have a little bit of a breakthrough after all these years. Hopefully, we’ll get there next year as well. So it’s fun.”
At only 14 years old, Ruud seems to have a very bright future, and it could be left to him to try and earn back-to-back appearances at the Junior Davis Cup for Norway. He was unable to get them off to a winning start, but there are plenty more matches to come for the young Norwegian.