"I don’t remember ever hearing that from a player" - Marion Bartoli on Casper Ruud's admission that he knew he would lose early at Australian Open
Marion Bartoli is flummoxed by Casper Ruud's surprising statement that he only played the Australian Open as it was a Grand Slam and that he knew beforehand he would exit early.
Seeded second at Melbourne Park in 2023, Ruud did eventually endure an early exit, going down to Jenson Brooksby in four sets in the second round. The Norwegian was one of three players who could have left the Australian Open as the World No. 1.
Ruud would have got the top spot by either going all the way or by reaching the final and Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas - the other two World No. 1 contenders - not reaching the title match.
In an episode of Match Points, Marion Bartoli expressed surprise at Casper Ruud's comment that he would start the season in earnest only after the Australian Open. Ruud was coming off final runs at Miami, Roland Garros and more recently the US Open and the ATP Finals.
“After being in the final of the US Open and the Masters, I thought he would ride this wave," Bartoli said to Tennis Majors. "But he said very early on that he would go to the Australian Open just because it was a Grand Slam but he knew he would lose early, and he would prepare for the new season after the Australian Open. I don’t remember ever hearing that from a player.”
The Frenchwoman was bemused that Ruud had time to embark on a Latin American tour but not enough time to prepare for the new season. She was also surprised with the Norwegian giving himself little chance to win the Australian Open after making two Major finals last year.
“He went on that tour and because of that, he took his holiday afterwards when the new season was about to start again, so he didn’t have time to prepare for it," said Bartoli.
"When you’re already a two-time Grand Slam finalist and also at the Masters, the next step is to win a Major, that goes without saying and you accept not having any pre-season and having more or less no chance at the Australian Open, that’s a way of thinking that I don’t understand, that I think is weird but if he’s okay with it, great," she added.
Casper Ruud set to return to action at Acapulco
After his disappointing exit to Jenson Brooksby at the Australian Open, Casper Ruud will return to action at the ATP 500 Acapulco Open which starts on February 27.
In his only previous appearance at the Mexican tournament, back in 2021, the Norwegian withdrew before his quarterfinal against Alexander Zverev due to injury. He had started his campaign with wins over Daniel Elahi Galan and Tallon Griekspoor.