Casper Ruud achieved a milestone recently that hasn’t been done in almost a decade, the last time a player won three consecutive titles on the ATP tour was Andy Murray back in October 2011.
In 2011 the Brit won three consecutive titles at ATP 250 then 500 and finishing with a Masters 1000 title during the Asian swing of Thailand, Japan and a second of third career titles in Shanghai.
Casper has ended his recent clay court run with three consecutive ATP 250 titles in Sweden, Switzerland and Kitzbuhel taking his tally to the season to four having won another clay event in Switzerland earlier on in the year.
That is that for the clay courts for this year, a good campaign for Casper who slipped up in Paris but now with the 22 year old Norwegian knocking on the door of the top ten in the world, can he do it on the hard courts?
The Norwegian has had a busy few weeks and year and there is still a lot of tennis to play. He is about 400 points off Denis Shapovalov who currently holds the ranking of No. 10 in the world and Casper is currently occupying the final position, No. 8 in the Race to Turin which he will be keen to hold onto.
I expect him to play a full end of season and there will be eyes on him. The problem is, hard courts just haven’t been his thing yet… his career win/loss on each surface is:
Clay – 70 wins to 30 defeats
Grass – 2 wins to 3 defeats
Hard – 21 wins to 29 defeats
Only 14 of his last 80 wins on the tour have been on the hard courts, that it is how heavily reliant he is on the clay. I like Casper, I would say his backhand has come on really well in the last year or so. I remember watching him at the NextGen Finals a few years back and it just didn’t stand up, dropped short and was picked off.
I do hope we see Casper take that next level in the last couple of months of the season. Some of the hard courts can be quite quick or slow, his forehand can flatten out and be a good builder but I want to see more striking power through the backhand.
If this form continues from clay to hard and finds consistency where he has lacked on the surface I will be surprised if he doesn’t end up in Turin at the Tour Finals. There will be some pressure to keep that position and some good inform players sneaking up. I think if he does make it to Turin it will be a big learning curve for Ruud, he hasn’t had much exposure against the best or at big tournaments outside of clay court Masters events. Looking ahead it will feel like Berrettini in 2019 and since he featured in London at the Tour Finals he has come on soo well this last year!