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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Elite players practice short-term memory loss.

Casper Ruud’s revenge recall helped him settle a 29-year-old family score today.

The seventh-seeded Ruud swept Brazilian qualifier Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Roland Garros second round for the seventh straight year.

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Scratch beneath the surface of this straight-forward scoreline and you'll see a vengeance victory for the Ruud family.

Brazilian Fernando Meligeni, who is uncle of Felipe Meligeni Alves, defeated Christian Ruud, Casper’s father and coach, 6-4, 6-4, back in the 1995 Bastad final denying the elder Ruud an ATP title.

While the affable Casper Ruud did not channel the classic revenge line—“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,”—in the coin toss, the two-time French Open finalist and his dad did discuss Ruud retribution in the pre-match meal this morning.

“We talked about it for breakfast, actually,” Ruud said. “My father, like you said, he lost Bastad final one time in his career, so he was never able to win a ATP tournament, and the guy he lost to in the final was Felipe's uncle.

“I think both me and my dad wanted to get some revenge on the Meligeni family. It was worth the wait, I guess. It was many years we had to wait, but we got it today.”

“Revenge is a dish best-served cold,” the old adage reminds.

In Ruud’s case, payback planning made him hungry to take Court Philippe Chatrier.

Geneva champion Casper Ruud scored his fifth straight clay-court victory and 20th Roland Garros win.

Ruud has now won 13 of his last 15 Roland Garros matches and will face either Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or qualifier Valentin Vacherot in round two.

Playing beneath the closed Chatrier retractable roof today, Ruud said slow conditions reinforce the importance of patient point construction—even when infused with the urgency to avenge your dad's honor.

“Just you have to mentally prepare that you won't maybe hit as many winners, and also that the rallies might be a bit longer, because the ball doesn't travel as far or fast through the air as on a normal sunny day,” Ruud said of indoor matches in Paris. “I think you just have to prepare for a bit longer rallies, and the balls will get a little bigger and heavier.

"It's not going to be easy to hit clean winners and fast points. I mean, I think it suited my game quite well today.”

Photo credit: Paul Kane/Getty