Casper Ruud recently spoke about his adulation for Rafael Nadal and his time spent training in Mallorca with his idol. Speaking on Sports Illustrated's podcast "Beyond the Baseline", Ruud revealed that he has been a fan of Nadal's ever since he first started watching tennis.
Casper Ruud was forced to withdraw from his Acapulco quarterfinal against Alexander Zverev earlier this week, but he has been impressing everyone with his topspin-heavy groundstrokes over the last year. It is no surprise that the Norwegian considers Rafael Nadal, who is famed for his vicious topspin, as his 'biggest idol'.
"Rafael Nadal is one of the best of all time," Casper Ruud said. "I've been a fan of him ever since I started watching tennis. He's my biggest idol and the one I admired the most among all the players."
Ruud went on to reveal that when he was a kid, the first player he watched on television was Rafael Nadal. The World No. 25 also claimed that Nadal was one of the biggest reasons why he decided to take up tennis as a career.
"I remember he was the first one I watched on television," Ruud said. "That's one of the reasons I really wanted to make a professional career."
Training with Rafael Nadal was a great motivation, he is extremely humble and works hard as he did 15 years ago: Casper Ruud
Casper Ruud has regularly traded hits with his idol Rafael Nadal at the latter's academy. Ruud first trained at the Rafa Nadal Academy in 2018, and has often described his time there in glowing terms.
Ruud has even developed a lasso-like forehand action like Nadal. And practicing with the 20-time Major winner has seemingly done wonders for the Norwegian's game, as he beat several big names en route to reaching the last four at Rome last year.
Casper Ruud asserted during the podcast that training with Rafael Nadal has been a 'great motivation' for his career. Ruud also lavished praise on Nadal's nature, insisting that the 34-year-old is still grounded and that he works just as hard as he used to do in his 20s.
"Training with him was a great motivation," Ruud said. "Even [when] he's won almost everything, he is extremely humble and works hard today as he did 15 years ago."