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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday October 5, 2021

Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud is reaching new hights on all surfaces in 2021. At Indian Wells he will look to solidify his status as a hard court force.

Photo Source: AP

Off the back of his ATP leading fifth title of 2021, Casper Ruud is ready for more success this week at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. The Norwegian, not known for his hard court prowess, has done a lot to change the perception that he is only a menace on his favored red clay over the last few months.

Tennis Express

Ruud, who stormed to the San Diego Open title by drubbing Cameron Norrie, 6-0, 6-2, in the final, has won 17 of 22 hard court matches on hard courts in 2021, which is a vast improvement from the 16-27 hard court record he carried into the season.

Read More: After San Diego Title, Ruud is Closing in on ATP Finals Spot

Ruud says the success is due to the fact that he’s simply a better player in all aspects. "I think obviously I'm playing better, year by year,” Ruud said after winning the title in San Diego on Sunday.

The Norwegian admits that the transition from clay, where he has won four titles and won 28 of 33 matches in 2021, is never easy. “Every time I step on the hard court again it takes a little bit of time to get into it because you usually played clay before,” he says.

“So I think the switch from clay to hard court is maybe the toughest one because you are used to the ball coming a little bit slower to you and bouncing higher, while on hard court, it's faster on the surface and the flatter shots will be more effective, but I think I've been able to do well this year, I've been playing a lot of tournaments and even just this summer when I went from the clay courts in Europe over to the states or to Toronto first, I did two big results there and that gave me some confidence on the surface."

With a week of tennis on hard courts under his belt, Ruud is feeling confident ahead of his main draw debut at the BNP Paribas Open. He says the high-bouncing hard courts there should suit him well. Given that he reached the quarterfinals at Toronto and Cincinnati, the possibility for a breakout in the California desert is certainly there.

"I think that's the main goal now to finish the year in a strong way, I think this trip might suit me and my game well, because I find it quite often when we come to the States it is quite bouncy on the hard courts,” Ruud said. “Indian Wells is known to be slow, and the high bounce can work well for me with my topspin shots and the high bounce will have the same effect as it does on clay for my opponent. I'm always happy when I come to a place and I feel that the courts are bouncing a bit slower. I find it positive for me."

Now that he’s moved into eighth in the Race to Turin standings, the 22-year-old is eager to push for a spot at the ATP’s prestigious year-end championships. He isn’t stressing about it though, because Ruud knows he’s at the beginning of his career and more chances will come.

Nevertheless, he says he knows he has a great opportunity and he aims to capitalize on it.

"If it's anything I think it would just be really exciting,” he said of coming from 27 in the rankings at the start of the season to eighth in the race in early October. “Of course it's a goal for me and it's something I am working hard for every day, but I also have to think that I'm young even though I had a great year this year and I'm close to maybe making it this year, I don't want to think too much about it and hopefully I will have a career that will go on for many years.”

Whether he makes it or not, Ruud says he will take a lot of confidence from all of his success in 2021.

“I think a year like this will be something I will look back on when we sit down after the season and take obviously the good things from it,” he said, adding: “There are eight players that also did better than me so it's not like I've done the most incredible season of any player around, but for me it's obviously been a very good season and a little bit of a breakout season for me. I've broken into the Top-10 and I think I'm number eight or nine in the race, it would be kind of the ultimate way to finish the year, but if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen, I will have more chances. Hopefully I will play this game for at least ten more years, I hope and I wish, so there will be other chances but of course in this sport you have to be greedy and try to capture all the chances you get."


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