Norway had stayed away from the men's tennis map for some 15 years, fading from the scene when Christian Ruud retired and returning stronger in the last couple of years with his son Casper. Casper has been one of the most promising players from Scandinavia, conquering the junior world and claiming the first Challenger title on debut in Seville in 2016 for a significant boost in both confidence and ranking.
In February 2017, Ruud reached the semi-final at the ATP 500 event in Rio de Janeiro, making a big push towards the top-100 but not being able to make that extra step until March this year. The young Norwegian who works at Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca had a breakthrough season in 2019, winning 23 ATP matches and advancing into the first ATP final in Houston, losing to Cristian Garin after a close battle.
Casper was also the semi-finalist in Sao Paulo, delivering four victories overall in Rome and Paris where he lost to Juan Martin del Potro and Roger Federer on his beloved clay. Returning to his favorite surface after Wimbledon, Ruud suffered early losses in Bastad and Hamburg before reaching the semi-final in Kitzbuhel, losing ground a little bit after that and clinching only six wins on hard by the end of the season.
Casper had the opportunity to compete at the Next Gen Finals, finishing the season inside the top-55 for the first time and getting a chance to lead Norway at the inaugural ATP Cup in January ahead of the Australian Open.
Also, the youngster has caused some positive vibes in his country, bringing more kids to tennis courts and the first Challenger to Norway in 25 years next November! In the future, this humble and quiet guy would love to see an ATP tournament in his country, something that would take tennis in Norway to another level.
"It's a little bit tough sometimes to come from a small tennis country like Norway because you don't have too many people to practice with when you're home and that kind of stuff," Ruud said. "I think many people don't quite understand where I'm from because Norway is not a typical tennis country and they're maybe thinking, 'Norway, where is that?' If I had to choose things, I would like them to believe that I play well and I'm a nice guy; that's my goal and why I try to stay humble all the time and try to work hard and hopefully the results and more fans will come.
It's one of my goals, to try to make Norway a bigger tennis country; we've been talking a little bit if I have a big career, we can maybe try to bring an ATP event to Norway; that would be a massive goal for me in my career. In Sweden, they have two tournaments and it would be excellent for Norwegian tennis to have one as well."