On Sunday at the Nitto ATP Finals, two of the humbler players on tour played the opening singles match of the men’s season finale.

The clash between Casper Ruud and Félix Auger-Aliassime went the way of the Norwegian, 7-6 (4), 6-4. The two are regular sparring partners on the practice court, and afterwards, Ruud shared that Auger-Aliassime has picked up a new nickname—courtesy of fellow Turin competitor Andrey Rublev.

“We were here on the Media Day on Saturday, I think. Andrey give him a new nickname, which is 'Oxford', because it seems like he is so well-educated,” Ruud explained to press.

“I think if you go to Oxford College, it seems like you have a good education, are well-spoken. I think it's a little bit funny name. It suits him well.”


Auger-Aliassime’s first trip to the year-end championships was aided by a stellar run indoors. He lifted three trophies in three weeks and reached the Paris Masters semifinals before being stopped by an equally in-form Holger Rune. Ruud was pleased to see his peer, who much like him is “all about the business”, put together the torrid stretch.

“I'm happy that he has been able to do so well this fall,” he said. “I think before he won his first tournament this year, he lost many finals. I'm very happy that he has sort of overcome the final aspect and being able to win many tournaments in a row.”

Auger-Aliassime is currently ranked a career-high No. 6.

Auger-Aliassime is currently ranked a career-high No. 6. 


For Ruud, matchups with Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz in the Green Group await. The 23-year-old hasn’t faced Nadal since being handed a one-sided defeat in his major final debut at Roland Garros.

Moreover, he is yet to take a set off any member of the Big Three (0 for 12). With the left-hander’s limited match play coming in, this could be the time to get over the hump.

“It's going to be a fun new match against Rafa. Let's see how it goes,” said Ruud. “I know that he will be very motivated because he has a lot to play for this week. I'm sure he knows that in the back of his mind. I will try to use the fact that maybe I'm the underdog.”

Ruud and Nadal are scheduled to begin a series of exhibitions across South America and Mexico later this month.