Casper Ruud won the Generali Open in Kitzbühel on Saturday to claim his third title in as many weeks following victories in Bastad and Gstaad. The Norwegian is the first player since Andy Murray in October 2011 to win three titles in three consecutive weeks.
ATPTour.com recently caught up with the new World No. 12 to learn more about his off-court hobbies, which non-tennis star he’d like to switch placed with for a day and more.
When did you first get into play tennis?
I was too young to remember. My father [Christian Ruud] obviously played before. We had a small mini tennis court in the back yard, and ever since I could walk, he took me there to get a feel of the ball and try to do some stuff, just for fun. I was about three, four, five years old.
When did you think you could become a professional tennis player?
Growing up I watched a lot of tennis on TV, and that inspired me to try and be there myself from a young age. I thought about playing tennis on the big screens around the world. It was always on my mind and my dream from eight years old. Then when I was 12, I stopped soccer, golf, and ice hockey in the winter to only focus on tennis.
What would be your perfect day without tennis?
Early morning golf, then have a nice lunch and then head out on my boat and have a nice swim. I like going on the boat and love playing golf, so that would be perfect.
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Photo Credit: Generali Open/Alexander Scheuber
What is one thing you could never be good at?
I am not really good with math. It came to a point in school where I lost it a bit. I know the basic stuff, but when you started involving letters in the mathematics I got lost. I would never be a good mathematician.
When you were younger, who did you dream of beating?
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It was more looking up to them. When you are young it is tough to believe you can be there yourself and beat them. They are more like an inspiration, but the older you get, the more you start to believe, and you get to practise with them sometimes. They are obviously better than you, but maybe not as much as you would maybe think. I was lucky enough to play Novak Djokovic and Federer once, when I went onto the court I went to try and win. You have to try and look at them as just another player you want to beat.
Who would you like to swap places with for one day, inside or outside of tennis?
Maybe a professional golf player when he tees off on the Sunday at The Masters. That would be quite the experience. I think Tiger Woods has done it the most, so maybe him.
Three people you have not met, past or present, to have a meal with?
This is very difficult. Maybe the artist I listen to the most is The Weeknd, so I would probably say him. As an actor, Daniel Craig is my favourite so that is two. The last one, [Michael] Jordan, he is one of the biggest legends. That is a solid trio.
Ruud Up To Career-High No. 12, Mover Of Week
What one meal could you eat every day for the rest of your career?
In Norway, one nice meal is to have newly baked bread with king crab and mayo. It is pretty boring, but very tasty and you could have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am a big fan of Asian food, Thai and Italian as well.
Where in the world would you want to retire to and why?
Getting to know the island of Mallorca in Spain. It is very easy to fall in love with it, so that is my goal to have a nice place there after my career. I also enjoy Florida, so it is tough to pick one. Both have good weather and good golf courses, but I haven’t decided yet. But I have some years to still.
When you are having a bad day, what motivates you to train anyway?
I think having a bad day are the times when you show how much you really want to succeed. You are able to put in a good practice or session, that can show yourself and your team how badly you want it. The guys on tour have had these days, and everyone at the top has been able to fight through it. It is something I have been able to do quite well.
What is your biggest flaw, and what is an example of this?
I think on court, I try to behave as well as possible, and sometimes you get frustrated. You get yourself becoming a little bit too angry and that is something I have been working on since I was young. When I was really young, I really hated losing. I started crying when I lost. I think I have matured quite a lot.
What is the biggest difference between you and your dad off the court?
I am a better golf player than him! The difference is getting bigger now that I am older. I am getting a bit better, and he is getting a bit worse every year. I enjoy watching F1 and cars, but he has no interest in this, so I don’t know where I got this interest from.
What don’t people know about Norway as a country?
It is not very crowded as we are only five and a half million [people]. I will give you a fun fact. If you take the coastline of Norway and stretch it out as one big line, you would go around the world two times. It has many fjords, they are beautiful with the scenery and the waterfalls and nice weather. I would recommend anyone to go, to go in the summertime. It is something I have to do after I retire.