Rafael Nadal: 'Casper Ruud made great start of 2020 with wins over Isner and Fognini'



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Rafael Nadal: 'Casper Ruud made great start of 2020 with wins over Isner and Fognini'

The 21-year-old Casper Ruud has been one of the players to watch at the ATP Cup, delivering triumphs against John Isner and Fabio Fognini before a solid display against Daniil Medvedev as well. Ranked just outside the top-50, the Norwegian had an excellent 2019 season, improving all the elements of his game and reaching the first ATP final in Houston.

In 2018, Ruud and his family (his father Christian is a former top-40 player) moved to Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca where he and his sister started full-time courses with Toni Nadal and other established coaches. The results were there instantly, with Casper jumping in front of some 60 rivals on the ATP list, winning 23 ATP matches and showing high-quality tennis on beloved clay, having a chance to play against Roger Federer at Roland Garros.

Hoping to improve his game on the hard court even more in 2020, Casper is eager to find those 10 or 20% more in his game that would make him a top-10 contender one day, working with the desire and dedication at the Academy and having a chance to learn a lot from Rafael and Tony Nadal.

Asked about Casper, Rafa said he is pleased to see him competing at this level at the ATP Cup, praising the youngster as a hard worker and someone always ready to learn and improve. "I saw Casper playing good in the off-season, practicing strong every single day in Mallorca; it's essential to kick off the season with these two great results, beating John Isner and Fabio Fognini.

He's amazing and I think that in the past he had some troubles on hard courts, preferring to compete on clay instead. Now, he is competitive on every surface and that makes me happy because he's a great guy, a hard worker and with a great family around him. That's encouraging for what's coming later."