Tennis

Casper Ruud – The Best Emerging Clay Court Player?

Casper Ruud is a young Norwegian that has caught the attention of many tennis fans in recent years. At just 22 years of age, he has already racked up seven ATP titles. And he has enjoyed a career-high ranking of number 8 back in October 2021. Following his recent Buenos Aires success, Ruud is now back at number 8 in the world too. The Buenos Aires event was yet another clay-court triumph for Ruud, and many are speculating that he could emerge as the new ‘king of clay’ once Nadal retires.

Casper Ruud

Having seen the way he plays, I certainly cannot dispute those speculations. He is a fantastic athlete, he hits a heavy ball on both wings, and he is a fighter too. But among these attributes, what else makes Ruud one of the hottest prospects for the clay-court game moving forward? Keep reading to find out.

Can Ruud Take the Clay Court Throne From Nadal?

Of course, Nadal is by far the greatest clay-court player to have ever picked up a tennis racket. The man is a phenomenon, but as we all know, he won’t be on the ATP Tour forever. Fairly or unfairly, the circle of tennis life will continue and the great’s will gradually step down from the spotlight. This will inevitably occur over the next few years, and here is why I believe that Ruud could step up and become the new king of clay:

ATP Masters Performances

Casper Ruud hasn’t actually won a Masters event before. However, he has come close by reaching three Masters semi-finals already. The first semi-final appearance came at the Italian Open in Rome, back in 2020. The other two then came in the same season, where Ruud reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, as well as the Madrid Open. In these events, he has managed to beat fantastic clay court players such as Tsitsipas and Schwartzman too. So clearly, he can take down the big guys on major stages.

Style of Play

Looking at the way in which Casper Ruud crafts points and how he strikes the ball, his game is ideal to be a clay court champion. His forehand is incredibly heavy, allowing him to work opponents all over the court, almost at will. At the same time, his backhand is solid, with Ruud throwing in very few unforced errors from this wing. On a clay court, he makes full use of these strengths too, hitting heavy from the back, and making the game very physical for his opponents.

Stage in Career

One of the biggest reasons why he could emerge as the king of clay is because the guy is still in his early 20s. As we have seen recently, tennis players are competing at the highest level deep into their 30s these days. So theoretically, if Ruud can stay fit and healthy, he has another 10+ years on the tour to rack up many more clay-court titles. That’s enough to win plenty of 500 and 1,000 level titles, and possibly the French Open multiple times too!

About the author

Gavin Davison

Gavin is a full-time copywriter based in the United Kingdom. He has previously played NCAA college tennis in the USA and competed in many international events throughout his younger days. He still plays competitively and follows both the ATP & WTA Tours closely. His favourite player is Roger Federer.

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