By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Thursday, May 11, 2023
Casper Ruud, after a tougher than expected clay court season, is hoping his fortunes will change at this week’s Italian Open. Especially since he admits Rome was a turning point for him last year on his way to reaching two Grand Slam finals, including Roland Garros.
“Last year was sort of the turning point of the clay season for me here in Rome,” Ruud said in a pre-event press conference. “I hope this year, of course, as well that I can have a good result, sort of get a good result in a big tournament this year. That’s sort of not been happening so far. Hopefully can turn around here in Rome.”
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The fourth-ranked Ruud has struggled this season both at the majors and the tour’s biggest events.
Despite winning the Estoril title last month, since then the Norwegian has suffered multiple early round losses in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid. That continued his trend this season of losing early including at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami.
Ruud, who has reached the Rome semis twice in his career, is aware of the pressures he faces to live up to his standout 2022 season, including defending the large amount of ranking points he accumulated then.
“I knew that this year was going to be a big challenge because the things that I did last year is not maybe going to happen every year you play,” Ruud said. “To reach two Grand Slam finals, obviously the Nitto ATP Finals in the end of the year, it’s not something that I expect to do every year.
“Obviously I’m trying my best. The thing is, when you’ve done something before, to reach for example a Grand Slam final, you know that it can happen again because you have been able to do it before, so why not again?
“I think your expectations are a little bit higher coming into tournaments, which can be dangerous. If it doesn’t go well, you think, What am I doing wrong? What happened? Last year I was able to do this, why can I not do it this year? It can be a little bit challenging.I said the main goal this year is just to try to defend some of the tournaments, some points, try to keep myself in the top 10 in the end of the year, is something that will still be my main goal.”
Ruud, after a first round bye, is scheduled to play Arthur Rinderknech in the second round.
Photo credit: Getty
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