Norwegian tennis star Casper Ruud admitted he felt the nerves early on during his Laver Cup clash against home favorite Reilly Opelka. Ruud, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 10 in the world, beat American Opelka 6-3 7-6 (4) at TD Garden in Boston to give Team Europe an early lead against Team World.
Ruud, who is making his Laver Cup debut this weekend, was scheduled for the opening match of this year's Laver Cup edition. "I was quite nervous in the beginning, it's a big stadium, a big crowd, you get chills when you walk on court, you have the intro, the music...
Seeing all the legenda. Luckily, I handled it well. I got an early break which kind of calmed the nerves down a little bit. I'm sure it was the same for Reilly, he is playing at home. so I was just trying to enjoy the moment, try to play without pressure.
It was a very good match for me," Ruud said.
Ruud handled Opelka in straight sets
Ruud made a perfect start to the match, having broken Opelka in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ruud saved a break point in the eighth game, before claiming his second break in the ninth game to win the opener.
As no breaks of serve were seen in the second set -- the set went into a tie-break -- in which Ruud realized his second match point to book a straight-set win. "I tried to stay in on the first serve and block the return, try to neutralize his serve, that's the only thing you can try to do.
I know that from the baseline I've been playing well here all week and try to play as many points as possible from the baseline. So that's always the plan and it's not always that everything goes after the plan but today it went. It was super fun. I feel very happy to get Europe off to an early lead," Ruud added.