Casper Ruud has divulged the details of his equation with Holger Rune after setting up a highly-anticipated clash in the semifinals of the 2023 Italian Open.
On Wednesday, May 17, Casper Ruud defeated Francisco Cerundolo 7-6(5), 6-4 in the quarterfinal to book his spot in the final four of the Italian Open for the third time in his three previous appearances.
Holger Rune, meanwhile, got the better of defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the Italian Open semifinal for the first time.
This will be Ruud and Rune’s fifth tour-level encounter, with the former winning on all four previous occasions. Their most recent clash, in the quarterfinals of the 2022 French Open, was filled with drama and ended in a frosty handshake - a controversy that seeped through to the locker room as well.
After his Italian Open quarterfinal win, Ruud talked about his upcoming clash with the fellow Scandinavian and expressed his happiness about the duo putting their region on the tennis map.
“I think it’s great for Scandinavian tennis. We have two Scandinavians in the semifinal here in Rome. It shows that we are doing something good up there in the Nordic,” he said.
The Norwegian also touched upon his feud with Rune and stated that the two had talked things out thereafter and that they respect each other. Ruud, however, maintained that while they are on cordial terms, they aren’t “close.”
“We have talked after the incident in Roland Garros and I think we both respect each other. You know, I didn’t send him a Christmas postcard, and neither did he to me. So, I’m not sure if we can say that we are too close,” Casper Ruud said in his on-court interview.
Ruud went on to add that he is hoping for a friendlier conclusion to their match this time around.
“We’re just gonna probably focus on the tennis part on Saturday, both of us. Hopefully make it more, sort of, friendly I guess, during and after the match this time,” he said.
“But it’s great to see, like I said earlier, just Scandinavian success. I think it’s really good for Nordic countries,” he reiterated.
"Holger Rune deserves where he is at the moment" – Casper Ruud ahead of 2023 Italian Open clash
Putting aside their differences, Casper Ruud praised Paris Masters champion Holger Rune for his exceptional rise over the past few months.
“He’s a very, very energetic player. He’s improved so much. You can see that his confidence is good on court and really deserves where he is at the moment. He has big goals for his career and he is going through one goal by another,” the two-time Grand Slam runner-up said.
Speaking about his strategy in the upcoming Masters 1000 semifinal against Rune, Ruud said that he will be putting up a good fight and remembering his 4-0 record against the Dane.
“Tennis is always open. It’s never over until it’s over, and I’m just gonna try to fight,” the World No. 4 said, “I’m just gonna try to think about what I’ve done well against him before. I have a winning record against him.”
Casper Ruud and Holger Rune will face off on Saturday for a spot in Sunday's Italian Open final.