Ahead of the Rolex Paris Masters this week, we had the chance to sit down with Casper Ruud “The Iceman” and ask him three questions about his 2023 season. Here’s how the Norwegian responded:
Casper, how do you rate your 2023 season so far on the ATP Tour?
Last year was incredible for me, finishing at the third spot at the ATP rankings, with a career high at No 2. This year has been challenging in many ways. When you have this ranking you have more expectations on yourself, you think you have a chance to play the final or win the trophy every tournament you play.
When you lose early you’re like, ‘What’s going on? Am I worse? Are other players much better?’ It was a season to try to gain experience from competing as a top three or top five member.
In a way, it was good to have a couple of slaps in the face to make you realise that everything is not going to go smoothly all the time. You have to work hard for that and of course I gave my best. It’s irritating, frustrating, annoying when you’re on the court and you don’t succeed as you want. But I’m still there, I’m still alive, still No 8 in the world and hopefully one week after also.
Let’s see what happens in Paris. It’s not the end of the world. It’s an opportunity you are given to look back, reflect and try to learn from it, grow from it, to become a better player and what went wrong.
What did you learn in 2023?
At this stage it’s hard to say what was learned because we are still in the season, there is still one more tournament, so it’s not easy to reflect on everything until the season is done.
Competing against so many good players out there when you are the favourite most of the time, it’s something I need to work on for the next season. Physically it’s a long season, you need to be ready for many tough tournaments.
When did you feel the best?
There were two weeks I felt really great, at Roland-Garros. I was able to defend my final spot. Coming up to the tournament, I was not looking forward to doing this, and then I played one match after the other and I believed more and more that what happened last year was not a one hit wonder.
Even if I couldn’t defend the US Open final, this Roland-Garros might have been very important for my career and to build the future.
The Iceman has become the first of four players to qualify for the UTS Finals in 2023, which will be played in London from December 15-17.