Casper Ruud admits he may have “overachieved” at times this year, but has no plans to slow down and is targeting further success at the 2023 Australian Open.
Ruud started the year ranked at No. 8 in the world after a five-title season, four of which had come on clay.
Over the last 12 months Ruud has proven himself to be an all-surface player, making the finals of the Miami Masters and US Open on hard courts, reaching the French Open final, making the semi-finals of the hard-court Canadian Open, and perhaps most surprisingly finishing as runner-up at the Nitto ATP Finals on super-fast hard courts in Turin.
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Ruud, who is currently on a Latin America exhibition tour with Rafael Nadal, won three titles overall and ends the season ranked No. 3 in the world.
While he has mixed emotions about missing out on the trophies at the French Open, US Open and ATP Finals, he says he is now hungry for more.
“In the end it’s been disappointing to end up losing these big finals,” he said after losing the final of the ATP Finals to Novak Djokovic.
“Overall, if you gave me an offer to end the year at No. 3, play the finals that I’ve played, at the 1st of January this year, I would probably sign the contract right away. No doubt about it.
“It gives me motivation and a hunger to maybe next time, if I ever get to another final like this…I hope I can learn from what I have done this year and not been able to do and see how it goes. I just feel like I still have room for improvements, even though I’m very happy with my game and how things have turned out this year.”
The courts in Turin for the ATP Finals were described by former world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev as the fastest of the season.
Ruud appeared to be an underdog to even get out of his group on such a surface, but he opened with wins over Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz before impressively dispatching Andrey Rublev in straight sets in the semi-finals.
“This result to me is maybe one of the most surprising, finishing the year here on a blistering fast indoor hard court, making the final – not something that I found very likely,” he said.
“Maybe neither did I, in the US Open, [expect] to make the final.
“I’ve overachieved compared to my own mind, so I’m very happy about that.”
Ruud finished the season with a 51-22 win-loss record.
He could have tallied even more victories if he had not been ruled out of the Australian Open due to injury.
His absence means he will have no points to defend at the Grand Slam when he returns to Melbourne in January.
“It’s a big chance for me to get some sort of revenge down there and hopefully have a good result,” said Ruud, who ends the year 1,000 points behind world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
“I look forward to going to Australia and starting a new season. I look forward to playing best-of-five sets again. I think for the Australian Open I can say I’m already hungry to have a good result and let’s see how next year plays out.
“There will be a lot of points and results for me to defend [after Australia]. I hope I can do that and achieve even more. That’s not going to be easy because this year I’ve done very well in certain tournaments, but I will try my best.
“I’m probably going to have more eyes on me from next year on. That’s something I’m going to just try to deal with and see how it goes.
“I’m just going to focus on the matches that I play, take it from there. When you’re starting in Australia, you know you’re probably going to play tens of thousands of points in the year, hopefully if you have a good one, close to 80 or 90 matches. It’s just one of many [tournaments].
“It’s like the start of a marathon and you are motivated for it.”
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