“Learning From Rafa, Toni”: Casper Ruud Accredits Time Spent at Rafael Nadal Academy for His Recent Success

Published 05/08/2021, 12:21 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Norway’s Casper Ruud celebrates after winning his quarter final match against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik REUTERS/Juan Medina


22-year-old Casper Ruud defeated Kazakh professional Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-1 to enter the Mutua Madrid Open 2021 semifinal. Surprisingly, he is the last player of Rafa Nadal Academy remaining in the tournament. German Alexander Zverev upset his idol and owner of the training academy, Rafael Nadal, in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Spain’s Rafael Nadal after their quarter final match REUTERS/Sergio Perez

After his win, the Norwegian World No.22 expressed his admiration for the Spaniard despite the loss. Moreover, he even accredited the academy and its coaches for his significant success recently.

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Casper Ruud cherishes learnings from Toni and Rafael Nadal.

First of all, the Norwegian star opened up on Rafael Nadal‘s shocking loss to Alexander Zverev. Although he claimed that the match was tough for his idol, Ruud still regards Nadal as the best.

“It was tough for him today; Zverev played a very good match. But he is still definitely always the king of clay and someone I have been looking up to for all my life,” Ruud said.

Furthermore, Casper Ruud reflected on his time spent at the Rafa Nadal Academy. Since the Spaniard’s exit, he is the closest one the home crowd will be rooting for in the semifinal.

“I’ve had a great time there in Mallorca, learning from Rafa, of course, and all the other coaches down there, and Toni as well,” he added.

Summing up, the young Norwegian revealed that he is optimistic about his future association with the Spaniard’s academy.  “I am very happy with the progress we have made and looking forward for hopefully many more tournaments,” Ruud concluded.

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With Nadal’s exit, can Ruud win the Madrid Open 2021?

It is Ruud’s third Masters 1000 semifinal appearance on the ATP Tour. He will meet Italian World No. 10 Matteo Berrettini in the Mutua Madrid Open 2021 semifinal.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Norway’s Casper Ruud in action during his quarter final match Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik REUTERS/Juan Medina

Remarkably, the 22-year-old has a 2-0 record against the Italian on clay. His two wins came at the 2019 French Open second round and the 2020 Italian Open quarterfinals.

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Thus, Ruud has an optimal chance to make it into his first Masters 1000 final in Madrid. In the final, he could either face Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev, which will altogether be a hefty task to complete.

Do you think Casper’s dream run in Madrid will go all the way?

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Purav Joshi

790 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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