Casper “The Ice Man” Ruud has consistently taken Norwegian tennis to new levels over the last three years.
In 2022, he became the highest ranked Norwegian player in history. With Ruud reaching a career-high of No 2 in the world, he also became the first Norwegian to play in a Grand Slam final, going on to compete in another two across the next 12 months.
Now, he’s heading back to his home country of Norway to compete in UTS Oslo. Playing tennis in front of home fans is a rarity for the 25-year-old, with Ruud guessing he’s only done it “five or six times” in his career.
UTS Oslo will be by far the highest-caliber event Ruud has contested on home soil.
Ruud’s journey as a Norwegian player not always easy
“I’m from a small place, a small country in terms of tennis,” Ruud shared ahead of UTS Oslo on 9 to 11 February.
“I looked up to the big players on TV: Roger, Rafa, Novak. While watching them, it wasn’t always easy to imagine yourself playing at the same stage, playing in the Slam finals, playing against them.
“Sometimes I wish I could have, from a young age, believe that one day I would be world No 1, or playing in these big finals. It hasn’t been easy every day of your life to wake up and believe in this.”
In 2022, Ruud was one match away from becoming the world No 1, as he continues to outline the mental challenges he’s faced over his career so far.
“For me, I was always thinking that I’m just a small kid from Norway, there’s a lot of other players out there who are working hard also.
“I’ve always had a good plan, but everyone cannot plan to be No 1 and expect it to happen. There can only be one guy who can be world No 1. It’s not easy to plan this, but for sure, a dream is a dream, but a dream can also become reality.”
The next dream Ruud is hoping to bring to fruition is winning the first UTS event of 2024, which takes place at the Telenor Arena in Oslo from 9 to 11 February. Top 10 players Holger “The Viking” Rune and Andrey “Rublo” Rublev will also be heading to the Norwegian city with hopes of returning victorious.