World no. 36 Casper Ruud was on a roll in February, winning the first ATP title in Buenos Aires and playing in another final in Santiago before the coronavirus halted the entire season. The young Norwegian was destined to become a tennis player, with his father Cristian putting Norway on the tennis map during the 90s, entering the top-40 but failing to win an ATP title.
For a decade and a half, Cristian has been doing his best to guide his son Casper towards the right tennis path, embracing a strict approach and making sure to create a serious and dedicated young player. After a notable junior career, Ruud started to carve his way towards the top-100, traveling to Rafa Nadal Academy in the summer of 2018 and preparing himself for the challenging life on the ATP Tour.
Casper finished the previous season just outside the top-50 after reaching the first ATP final, not playing well in the second part on the year but fixing all that at the beginning of 2020, moving closer to the place in the top-30 and hoping to continue in the same style once the season resumes.
"When you turn 15 or 16, your friends start to party a little bit and you're often tempted to try to go once or twice; I never did it and never touched alcohol as well. Those are choices normal people may think are a bit tough or hard to say no to going out or being with friends," Ruud told ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot.
"Every weekend in Norway, it's usual to go to your cabin or summer house or whatever the season is; instead of that, my father and I were on the court, playing for six or seven hours. I think those were the kind of choices that made me a step ahead of my competitors, at least in Norway.
My father Casper was the guy who put Norway on the tennis map; he had a small tennis court in our garden and I was on it ever since I could walk. At an early age, I embraced many other sports as well but tennis was the one I enjoyed the most.
At the age of 12, I put other sports aside and focused on tennis alone. My father is a nice guy but also very strict on the court; he taught me how to be serious and make the right decisions, even when I was much younger. It's paying off a little bit now, taking all those decisions and choices that weren't always easy but that helped me with my career."