At a time when the world of tennis is filled with exciting youngsters, Casper Ruud is one name that stands out. The 22-year-old from Norway had a stellar 2021, with many believing it to be his breakout year.
And it is easy to understand why many felt this way. He managed to win a total of five ATP titles while also making the semis of two ATP Masters tournaments.
His remarkable form saw him qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, the year-ending tournament, for the first time in his career.
In the tournament at Turin, he managed to make it to the semi-finals before losing to eventual runner-up Daniil Medvedev.
But his run in the tournament helped him consolidate his year-end ranking. He entered the tournament ranked 8th in the ATP rankings, and that was the position he finished the year in.
Naturally, after such a season, expectations going into the 2022 season are understandably high for the youngster from Oslo.
But before we go into the following season, let us take a look at how exactly he reached his career-high ranking in the first place.
Casper Ruud turned professional in 2015, but it was in 2016 that he began his ascent up the top of the rankings pile. That was the year he began playing in ITF Futures tournaments.
His good showings in Futures tournaments – which included two title wins – saw him receive a wildcard for an ATP 250 event in Chengdu, where he lost in the first round.
However, he ended the year ranked a respectable 225. And things would only get better the following year as he cracked the top 150.
This was largely down to his showing in the Rio Open, an ATP 500 tournament which he entered thanks to a wildcard. He shocked everyone by making the semi-final of the tournament.
Ruud would lose to Pablo Carreno Busta in the semis but ended the year ranked 133. And his progress would not stop there.
2018 saw him qualify for the Australian Open, where he made it to the second round. He would also make it to the first round of the US Open, but what really helped him was his showings in Challenger tournaments.
He would end the year ranked 112, and in 2019 his improvements saw him make it to the NextGen ATP Finals at the end of the year.
Ruud was eliminated in the round-robin stage itself but the following year would make history. How so? By becoming the first Norwegian to win an ATP title.
He accomplished this feat by winning the Argentina Open and his improved showings in ATP events and Grand Slams meant he ended the year 2020 ranked 25.
All of this set him up for a monumental 2021, a year which was seen as a breakout one for him.
He made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open but retired in the middle of his match against Andrey Rublev due to injury.
However, he would win the Geneva Open – his second title of his career – and also make it to the semi-finals of both the Madrid and Monte Carlo Masters events.
He also won three straight ATP 250 titles at Bastad, Gstaad, and Kitzbuhel – in as many weeks. This came when a great number of players were either at Tokyo for the Olympics or taking time off.
The three tournament wins did wonders for his rankings. Not only did he break into the top 10, but by the end of the year he was ranked eighth – and thus qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals.
As things stand, he will be ranked eighth in the world at the start of the 2022 season.
Below you can check out the steady career trajectory that the rankings of Casper Ruud have followed. As you can see, it has steadily gone upwards since 2015.
Of course, the biggest jump came in 2021 as he won five titles. He is now firmly established in the top 8 of the ATP rankings.
|Year||ATP ranking (year end)||Season high||Season low|
Casper Ruud has currently won a total of 6 ATP titles – five of which came in 2021. Below you can find the summary of all the titles he has won so far in his career.
|Tournament||Final opponent||Scoreline||Title number|
|Argentina Open (2020)||Pedro Sousa||6-1, 6-4||1|
|Geneva Open (2021)||Denis Shapovalov||7-6(6), 6-4||2|
|Swedish Open (2021)||Federico Coria||6-3, 6-3||3|
|Swiss Open (2021)||Hugo Gaston||6-3, 6-2||4|
|Austrian Open (2021)||Pedro Martinez||6-1, 4-6, 6-3||5|
|San Diego Open (2021)||Cameron Norrie||6-0, 6-2||6|
If his current trajectory is anything to go by, however, this won’t be the last of his titles before he calls it a career.