Norway’s superstar Casper Ruud confirms entry – world No. 4 aiming to triumph in Hamburg
The “clay court prince” is coming to Hamburg! Norway’s world No. 4 Casper Ruud has confirmed his participation at the Hamburg European Open 100 days before the start of play. The 24-year-old, who is considered the heir apparent to his childhood idol Rafael Nadal, won his tenth career title at the ATP tournament in Estoril, Portugal on Sunday. It was his ninth success on clay. “I’m so happy and excited to come back to Hamburg for the Hamburg European Open this year. I love playing there and I love playing some clay tournaments after Wimbledon in the summer,” said the two-time Grand Slam finalist, looking ahead to the 117th edition of the tournament at the Rothenbaum venue (22 – 30 July 2023).
Tennis gentleman Ruud won the ATP’s Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Ruud is one of the headliners of the first season of the Netflix series “Break Point” and is one of new generation’s superstars. In September 2022, the man with the “sledgehammer forehand” (official ATP website) reached a career-high world ranking of No. 2 after finishing the runner-up at the US Open. If he had beaten the Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz in the final, he would even have become the new No. 1. “For me, Casper Ruud is not just someone who can eventually become No. 1 with his work ethic, intensity and consistency. For me, Casper is an ideal representative of tennis. He is fair, smart, super likeable – and therefore a great role model for juniors. He has never destroyed a racket,” says tournament director Sandra Reichel. Ruud won the ATP’s “Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award” at the end of the 2022 season – the first time it had been won by somebody other than Roger Federer (13 x) and Nadal (5 x) since 2004.
Home-loving and down-to-earth, Casper Ruud still lives in the city of his birth, Oslo. He is coached by his father Christian. Now 50, Ruud senior was previously the highest ranked Norwegian in tennis history – No. 39. Since 2018, Casper has trained regularly at the Rafael Nadal Academy on his favourite island, Mallorca. He has received valuable tips from “Rafa” and his uncle Toni. In the 2022 French Open final, he succumbed almighty “King of Clay”, after whom he once even named his dog “Rafa”. At the end of the best ever season, Ruud reached the final of the ATP Finals in Turin against Novak Djokovic in November, but lost 7-5, 6-3.
Ruud has his own Eurosport video podcast and modelled for VOGUE
The two-time Laver Cup participant will be making his fifth appearance – 2017 (qualifying), 2018, 2019 and 2020. Aged 19 in 2018, he received a main draw wildcard and in 2020 he lost in the semi-finals to eventual winner Andrey Rublev. “I have great memories of the tournament – especially when I made the semi-final a couple of years ago. Of course, the goal is to always try to improve. I hope that this year I can go even further,” says Ruud whose father also played the long-established clay court event in the Hanseatic city in 1997 and 1999 – but failed to make it past the first round.
Son Casper is undoubtedly one of the hottest favourites for the title at this year’s Hamburg European Open. And the likeable Scandinavian, who eloquently reports on tour life in his monthly Eurosport video podcast (“Ruud Talk”), is sure to become one of the fan favourites.
The Norwegian tennis gentleman recently modelled for the February issue of “VOGUE Scandinavia”. His favourite actor is Daniel Craig – at the Laver Cup, he had his picture taken James Bond style in a dinner jacket with a pistol in his hand. Casper Ruud has the “licence to win”. Hamburg is likely to be an exciting mission for the cool Norwegian!