It was only a matter of time before Casper Ruud rewrote the record books for Norwegian tennis on the ATP Tour. And the day arrived on Sunday in Buenos Aires. On the Argentinian clay he became the first player from his country to win a singles title on the professional tour when he beat the Portuguese Pedro Sousa in the final of the Argentina Open 6-1, 6-4 in just 71 minutes.


“It’s a great feeling. I’m enjoying the moment. It’s a very special thing to win my first title and the biggest of my career so far”, the player who arrived at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in 2018, when he was just inside the top 140 in the ATP Rankings, recognised in an interview with ATPTour.com. In the less than 2 years since, his rise has been meteoric and on Monday he reached no. 34 in the world, his highest position yet.


His eruption into this elite section of the list also means he has exceeded the mark set by his father Christian Ruud in October 1995, when he peaked at no. 39 in the world. The news means that Casper is also the highest-ranking Norwegian in history. “I beat his ranking and I won a title, which he was unable to do”, joked the young 21-year-old player. “I no longer have to listen to the question of whether I can surpass my father, but now I have to try to think about improving and getting further”.


It was not the first time he has faced the possibility of claiming an ATP title. Last year, he fell at the final hurdle in Houston, but in Buenos Aires he took his chance with aplomb. And he did so after an impeccable week in which he saw off opponents such as Pablo Andújar (first round), Roberto Carballés (second round), Dusan Lajovic (quarter-finals), Juan Ignacio Londero (semi-finals) and Sousa in the decider.


After tasting success, the Norwegian was forthcoming about the help he has received in Manacor from the Rafa Nadal Academy. “It’s a great place if you want to be a professional tennis player. The Academy has helped me a lot with the coaches and everything else, as well as Rafa himself. He is very involved in my tennis and my career, so I’m very grateful to them and I will continue there for as long as I can”.


But Casper’s road does not end in Buenos Aires. Now, with Pedro Clar in his corner, he travels to Rio de Janeiro, a place that holds great memories for him. It was there that he was a semi-finalist in 2017 and he bowed out in the quarter-finals last year. Can he reach another final? We will find out from 17 to 23 February.


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