Mubadala Tennis: Norwegian Ruud eyes No.1 spot in 2023

The 23-year-old Norwegian had a fruitful 2022 where he won three ATP Tour titles and finished second at Miami, Roland Garros, the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Norway's Casper Ruud in action during his semifinal match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. — Reuters
Norway's Casper Ruud in action during his semifinal match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. — Reuters

Published: Sun 18 Dec 2022, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Sun 18 Dec 2022, 12:55 AM

World No. 3 Casper Ruud is hoping the two matches played at Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) in Abu Dhabi will help kick-start his 2023 season in the best possible way.

The 23-year-old Norwegian had a fruitful 2022 where he won three ATP Tour titles and finished second at Miami, Roland Garros, the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals.


“This has definitely been the best year of my career. But at the same time, I still feel like there are some matches I could have avoided losing. The year has been a little bit up and down. The start of the year was a bit tough. I was not able to play at the Australian Open as I rolled my ankle the day before my match, and it took some time for me to settle into the season. Since then, I’ve had some great results and fantastic tournaments. I have also won matches I didn’t think I had a fair chance of winning,” he told Khaleej Times.

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This year, Rudd hit a career high of No.2 before slipping a place by the end of this season.

“This year has been incredible, I’ve had so many experiences and feelings and it's been great overall.”

At the 2022 US Open final where the No.1 spot was at stake, Rudd fell to Carlos Alcaraz in a four-setter close fight. And Rudd knows he is getting closer to his long-time dream of being No.1.

“Dreams that I had when I was younger are slowly becoming more achievable. I’ve always wanted to be World No. 1 and I was really close this year. I was one match away in the end. I did not always believe it was possible to be in that position but when I was in New York I enjoyed it and I am really motivated to get back to that position.”

Unable to cross the last hurdle in two Grand Slam finals has only driven him to get the ‘W’ in future.

“I am really looking forward to trying to win a Grand Slam, that is my biggest dream and biggest goal in my career and it’s something I’m working really hard to achieve. I know all other players are also having the same goals and it will definitely be a tough fight in the future,” said Rudd, who was given a reality check of challenges awaiting next year as he lost to No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas (2-6, 2-6) at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, MWTC defending champion Andrey Rublev continued his victorious streak with an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over No.1 Alcaraz. On Sunday, Rudd will be in action against Alcaraz in the third-place playoffs (1 pm) and Rublev will try to retain his MWTC crown by defeating Tsitsipas (3pm start).

“We start next year very early, and I think these two matches will prepare me for Australia,” added Rudd, who this week won the ATP Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award ending the dominance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who combined to win it each year since 2004.

RESULTS

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Casper Rudd 6-2, 6-2; Andrey Rublev defeats Carlos Alcaraz 6-2, 6-1; Cameron Norrie beats Borna Coric 6-3, 7-5.


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