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Casper Ruud adjusts to hard courts, New York chaos to begin US Open campaign
At his best on clay, the Norwegian has become a formidable contender on concrete and managed the elements to roll though his opening round against Kyle Edmund.
Published Aug 29, 2022
WATCH: Ruud reached his third Masters 1000 semifinal of the season on the hard courts of Montréal earlier this month.
NEW YORK—For players hailing from quieter, cooler cities, New York City can provide a degree of sensory overload on top of the stress that comes with competing for the final major tournament of the season.
Into the second round of his sixth US Open main draw, Casper Ruud aims to control that chaos and make the most of his stay in the Big Apple.
“For myself, a couple of weeks staying in Manhattan can get to be too much, but I’m not tired of it yet,” he said after defeating Kyle Edmund in straight sets. “Let’s see at what point I will. Hopefully not for some time if I’m able to stay for some more days and weeks.”
Though the 23-year-old was born in Oslo, a city that can average as little as 39 hours of daylight in the winter months, the life of a traveling tennis player has allowed him to become worldly enough to deal with nearly any condition thrown his way.
“I grew up coming to the States a lot, not so much New York City but more to Florida so I’m sort of familiar with places to go, where to eat and all these things. I don’t mind it at all. Sometimes it’s a little but overwhelming and it’s, of course, always hot and humid. For me, that’s the toughest. The weather makes it a challenge just to hit the balls inside the lines.”
It’s a cool city, and I’ll keep coming back here for hopefully many more years. Casper Ruud
Ruud began his 2022 US Open campaign on Court 12, managing the quicker court speeds present on the grounds to overcome the 2018 Australian Open semifinalist, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2, and employing a more aggressive stance than what he typically prefers on clay.
“I stand a little bit more in on the return of serve, closer to the baseline, which I think I’m improving step by step,” said the Roland Garros runner-up. “I’ve maybe flattened out the serve a bit more and go for bigger serves.
“I don’t want to change my game completely when going from one surface to another but there are some things I tried to work on and improve. Return and serve are the first shots of the rally so that’s probably where you want to gain the most when you play for the point. I feel pretty confident that I’m able to play with a good amount of topspin and not feel like I have to flatten things out too much. Nothing changes much in the rallies but serve and return I make a few adjustments.”
The No. 5 seed will need to remain plenty aggressive in his next match against Tim van Rijthoven, who made his major breakthrough at Wimbledon earlier this summer, reaching the second week and pushing Novak Djokovic to four sets after winning his first title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier in the month.
With two of Ruud’s three Masters 1000 semifinals in coming on hard courts this season—including a runner-up finish at the Miami Open—a growing comfort with concrete means he may have a longer stay than usual.
“It’s a cool city,” Ruud said of NYC, “and I’ll keep coming back here for hopefully many more years.”