Casper Ruud recently revealed that he harbored hopes of defeating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer when he was a child. The Norwegian also said the two tennis greats had served as an inspiration for him growing up.
Ruud has faced Roger Federer once before, but is yet to take on Rafael Nadal. The Norwegian lost to the Swiss in straight sets in the 2019 French Open. He has also lost to Novak Djokovic in their only career meeting so far at the 2020 Italian Open.
During a recent conversation with the ATP, Ruud was asked to name the players he dreamt of beating during his younger days. The 22-year-old pointed out the names of Federer and Nadal but was quick to explain that he saw them more as his idols, as the idea of beating them was difficult to fathom as a youngster.
"Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal," Ruud said. "It was more looking up to them. When you are young it is tough to believe you can be there yourself and beat them."
Ruud explained that as he grew older he started to believe in his ability to beat top players. Having trained with the big names in men's tennis on a regular basis, Ruud believes they are not as invincible as many consider them to be.
"They (Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) are more like an inspiration, but the older you get, the more you start to believe, and you get to practise with them sometimes," Ruud said. "They are obviously better than you, but maybe not as much as you would maybe think. I was lucky enough to play Novak Djokovic and Federer once, when I went onto the court I went to try and win. You have to try and look at them as just another player you want to beat."
Ruud is closing in on a top-10 spot himself on the back of a dominant claycourt season. He has already won four titles in 2021, including the Generali Open last weekend.
Casper Ruud hopes to settle in Mallorca like Rafael Nadal once he retires
Casper Ruud has spent a considerable amount of time in Mallorca training at the Rafa Nadal Academy. As such, he has a soft spot for the island despite being an outsider.
When asked where he would prefer to settle down after retiring, Ruud revealed he would like to spend more time in Mallorca as it is "very easy to fall in love with".
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"Getting to know the island of Mallorca in Spain," Ruud said. "It is very easy to fall in love with it, so that is my goal to have a nice place there after my career. I also enjoy Florida, so it is tough to pick one. Both have good weather and good golf courses, but I haven’t decided yet. But I have some years to still."