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Ruud: ‘I have taken steps in the right direction’


Despite falling one match short of winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title, Casper Ruud is pleased with the progress he made at this year’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

The Norwegian earned the biggest win of his career by PIF ATP Ranking when he defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, before Stefanos Tsitsipas ended his title bid in Sunday’s final.

“I think I have taken a few steps [forward] this week, but today it just didn’t work out well. Obviously saying that, I took a few steps, I think I played well on the clay and also yesterday beating Djokovic was a fantastic win for me and something that I hope I can kind of take confidence from,” Ruud said. “Maybe not today but maybe next time I play a big match or hopefully next time if I’m in a big final again I will think about maybe the fact that I have beaten Novak before can be something that can give me confidence.”

Rewind to 2022 and Ruud enjoyed the best season of his career. He climbed to No. 2 in the PIF ATP Rankings, won three tour-level titles and reached two major finals. The 25-year-old was unable to find his best level in 2023, triumphing on the ATP Tour once, while he held a 37-23 record on the season.

Ruud has now reached three tour-level finals in 2024 and will rise to No. 6 in the PIF ATP Rankings on Monday. The Norwegian feels that if he can maintain his current level, a big title will soon come his way.

“This year I’m feeling like I’m a little bit more back on track, I play a little bit more loose, not too much to lose anymore,” Ruud said. “I have achieved, sometimes when I think about it, more things than I thought was possible in my career, but by doing that you also want to chase and push for even more. Obviously, a Grand Slam or ATP [Masters] 1000 is the next big dream, big goal of mine.

“Today I was able to play a final of a 1000. [I] wasn’t able to win, so I will continue to chase and try to improve my game always. I have taken a few small steps I think in the right direction in the past six months tennis-wise, physically also, and I think we are doing something right and hopefully can continue on this positive trend that I’m in.”

Ruud was unable to find a way past Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final, with the Greek triumphing 6-1, 6-4 to level the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series at 2-2.

“He played aggressive, fantastic with the forehand, and playing also really well with the backhand today I think. I didn’t really find any holes in his game. I didn’t play good enough. Simple as that,” said Ruud, who failed to convert any of his eight break point opportunities. “I think there were a few maybe small chances in the second where I had again some break chances, breakpoints, but when you don’t convert, it’s tough to win the matches.”

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