Hello there bloggies!
If you have read other posts on this blog, you know there are two things I have definitely obsessed with: Tennis and Norway.
Well those two things came together this week as Norwegian teenager Casper Ruud had a brilliant run to the semifinals of the ATP 500 event in Rio de Janeiro. And I could not have been more excited (well, Thiem’s better form helped too!).
Now when you think about Scandinavian tennis, you usually think of Sweden. Jonas Bjorkman, Stefan Edberg, Robin Soderling, Thomas Enqvist, Thomas Johansson, Magnus Norman, and of course Bjorn Borg all hail from Sweden. More recently, you may think of Denmark with former world number one Caroline Wozniacki holding the Nordic torch the last decade. You don’t see many Norwegian players, especially the last few years.
But that could all be changing.
Casper Ruud is just 18 years old and already ranked near the top 200. Son of a former top 40 player Christian Ruud, he’s showing the glimmer of a soon-to-be top 100 player. I have to be honest here that I had not heard much about Casper Ruud until I saw the letters ‘NOR’ in the draw of the Aussie Open qualifying rounds this year. There, he lost in the last round of qualifying to Reilly Opelka, a great effort to win two rounds of qualifying.
I again saw that he got a wildcard into the Rio tournament at the start of the week, but didn’t think much of it. Ruud was playing Dutra Silva at his home tournament. I honestly did not give him much chance. But I was wrong. He won 6-3 6-4 and moved on to play qualifier Carballes Baena. That matchup made me pause. It was winnable. And win it Ruud did, though in dramatic fashion 6-7 6-4 7-6.
Ruud was in the quarters. I did a mini fist pump and thought the quarters was as good as it would get. Couldn’t be too greedy, right? Especially against another Brazilian–Montiero–in Brazil. WRONG. Ruud swept Montiero aside in straight sets 6-2 7-6.
A Norwegian teenager was in the semis.
Now in the semis, Ruud played a great two sets before succumbing to the more experienced Carreno Busta 2-6 7-5 0-6.
What a brilliant tournament! While I’m sure Ruud would have loved to finish off the match in the semis, there is so much positivity to take from this tournament. Ruud belongs on the pro ATP tour and has the ability to keep improving that ranking. In the next two years, I’m hopeful we will start seeing the Norwegian flag and abbreviation in the four Grand Slams. Especially the French since clay seems to be his best surface.
Congrats Casper Ruud and best of luck! Excited to have a new Norwegian player to watch and root for!
Thanks for stopping by this tennis post! As always, feel free to connect in the comments or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.
Have a great day!