In September 2013, at the age of 14, Casper Ruud took his first steps on the ITF circuit. After making his mark in 2014, he made his debut in 2015 with a victory over Munar at Roland Garros Junior and two quarter-finals in the Futures event. His progress is dazzling. He entered the top 1000 in February 2016 with his first ITF title on clay. He is very close to repeat hard a few weeks later in the United States, beaten in the final by Mmoh. By September, he was already 274th in the world at only 17 years old when he won his first challenger title in Seville. First victories on the ATP circuit in early 2017 (semi-final in Rio), first Grand Slam victories in 2018, the young Casper has several goals in mind. Already, to surpass the best ranking of his father Christian (39th in the world in 1995) but also to be number one in the world one day. He is aware of the challenge but he believes in it: "I think I can be the best in the world one day. I still have a very long way to go, but I really think it could be possible. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have been up there for a very long time. I think tennis will be a lot more open in three, four, five years when they retire."

In May 2019, in Paris, the draw will give the young Norwegian the opportunity to play against Roger Federer. It's an encounter that will inevitably be etched in his memory forever, and he spoke to Fredrik Skavlan: "When you're facing the man who is considered the greatest legend in the history of your sport, it's clear that you can be a little more nervous than usual. I managed to keep a cool head until the start of the match but I remember it was a bit difficult to sleep the night before. When you lay your head on the pillow, your thoughts come because when you have to meet a player like Federer, the pressure is great. At night is the time of day when I think the most about what's going to happen the next day. That night, it wasn't easy to fall asleep." My first real meeting with Federer was in 2018 in Melbourne. "I remember I was in a big cafe where all the players were sitting down to eat. When Federer walked in, it was completely quiet and everyone turned around. The legend was there. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer look bigger than they could be. They are about 1.85 meters tall, but it may seem like they are two meters tall because of the respect you have for them."

Father and coach Christian Ruud (left) and his son Casper training in Melbourne in 2018. Photo: Lars Eide / NTB scanpix
Casper Ruud and his father Christian Ruud in Melbourne n 2018 / Credits: Lars Eide / NTB scanpix

The Norwegian journalist also returned to the role played by his father in his career. Has their father-son relationship been affected by the fact that he is also his coach? "No, we respect each other in the same way that when he's on the field, he's a coach. He's not afraid to tell me and it can be very difficult to accept criticism, but he does it because he knows I can do so much better." His parents devote their lives to their son's career, 25th in the world last October. Casper Ruud employs both parents on his staff. The family balance shifted when Casper overtook his father in the ATP rankings. Now the son runs the family business. Only on the surface: "The ultimate boss is probably my mother. She rules over both of us and sometimes between the two of us."

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