World No. 8 Casper Ruud credits self belief for his outstanding 2021 season. Ruud is having an exceptional season as he has won five titles in 2021, broke into the top-10 for the first time in his career and earned a spot at the ATP Finals also for the first time in his career.
"I think the biggest change for me is my self-confidence and belief that I can play at this level is much higher. I am a guy that hasn’t played as much on the biggest stage. I’ve had a taste of it, but I’ve worked my way up slowly and steady.
I hope players respect me a little more now than a year or two ago," Ruud said, per the ATP Finals website. “I think players chase that status, that players fear you. If you play Novak [Djokovic] or Rafa [Nadal] on clay, everyone knows it will be tough and you have to play your best game ever over three hours.
If I can achieve a small percentage of that feeling I will be happy”.
Ruud set to play Novak Djokovic
In his first-ever match at the ATP Finals, Ruud will take on 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic. Ruud admits he is "excited" over facing five-time ATP Finals champion Djokovic.
Djokovic won the lone meeting between the two as he beat Ruud at the Rome Masters last year. "It feels exciting [as he is] the toughest player to play in the world,” said Ruud. “He knows the routine and has won the event many times.
He almost won four majors this year, and there was only one player that stopped him. I did watch the US Open final, so I may ask Daniil how he beat him! Novak is a complete player with pretty much no weaknesses. I will try and enjoy the moment, but I know it’s a tough task ahead on Monday”.