THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Today’s match finished pretty quickly in that final set. Overall, what did you think of the way you played today?
CASPER RUUD: I think I played very well from the first to the last point. It was pretty much perfect conditions out there. It was around 27, 28, 29 degrees Celsius, which is quite nice for me and makes the ball bounce up quite high. My topspin shots, you know, they jump off the ground quite well here, I feel.
I tried to make as many returns as possible and serve well and start going with my game that I would like to play. These courts are quite slow, but at the same time, it travels quite fast through the air, I think, because it’s a bit of altitude. Not too much, but I feel like there is a little bit.
It’s quite dry air, and I felt good out there and had some days now to recover from last week and also prepare for this week, which is the biggest event over here.
Q. The last time we spoke, it was before San Diego. You win San Diego. You are now actually the tour leader for the most titles so far in 2021. How does that feel, I mean, to be such a leader on the ATP Tour?
CASPER RUUD: No, it feels obviously nice and a good feeling. The tournaments I won maybe can’t compare to what maybe Novak won, or he won three slams this year and I think he has four in total. Medvedev, those guys, they have some bigger titles to their name, but I think this year has been about winning a lot of matches for me and trying to — you know, I set a goal going into the season that I wanted to try to win another tournament, because last year was my first and I wanted to follow up this year with trying to winning another one, become a multiple ATP Tour champion or tournament champion.
I was able to do so in Geneva, and then those three in a row kind of just happened quite fast when I think about it now, but, yeah, it’s been an unbelievable spring, summer, and also fall. This fall is turning out quite good. I’m very happy.
This is a part of the season where I have struggled before. I don’t think that we will play San Diego and Indian Wells in October in the nearest future again, but, you know, who knows? But it’s nice to be here. Nice to play outdoors before going indoor for the European tournaments. So I enjoy it and feeling happy about what I have done this year but also hungry for more.
Q. How important is it for you to actually claim a title on a hard court?
CASPER RUUD: No, it was — I’m not sure if it was the most important thing of my career, but I think it was nice to show myself that I can win the title on hard court, because, you know, if I would have gone on in my career and won multiple tournaments and they only would be on clay, I probably wouldn’t mind that either, but now I can say I won a tournament on two surfaces, so I guess the last one is grass.
I’m not sure that will happen in the nearest future, but I will at least try to get my first grass court title once in my career.
Q. We spoke last time also about your golf, and this is a golfer’s paradise. I know how much you love your golf. Is this a good spot to get in practice for the next time you have to play Rafa in golf?
CASPER RUUD: Yes, I think so. This is a beautiful place. Courses are playing a little bit different now this time of the year than in March. It’s a bit greener in March. Because I know the summer has been brutally hot over here, I think the grass has felt it a little. So it’s a bit maybe not as green as it is when we come here in March and is beautiful and green and everything is so nice.
It’s a bit different, but that’s also fun. The golf courses are still open, and I try to play as much as I can. Obviously I have to focus about the tennis, that’s why I’m here, but I’m pretty sure that either it happens during my career or after my career, I will probably have a golf trip going to Palm Springs at one point in my life because it’s, like you said, a golf paradise, not only a tennis paradise.
Q. Looking ahead to your next match, first talk about one player and then talk about the next player so that we can put together a preview looking ahead.
CASPER RUUD: If it was to be Davidovich Fokina, I know him quite well. We have had two quite interesting matches in our young careers, once in Milan in the NextGen Finals where I ended up winning in the fifth set. It was different format, but it was best-of-five sets and I won in the deciding one.
Then obviously this year at the French Open I had a very tough loss to him in the fifth set there also, so it has been quite close two times. In Roland Garros it was quite an epic match I felt like. It was a lot of back-and-forth and very close games and a close match. It was 7-5 in the fifth, but both had our chances throughout the whole match and it was going back and forth all the time.
So if it was to be him, I would probably try to seek some revenge from that tough loss and see how it goes. I know he’s definitely one of the better younger players on tour and a guy I hopefully can play a lot of times in my career and we can play each other in big matches in our careers.
If I play Lloyd, I will have to be on top of my returning game. He serves very well. I know that. I have watched him a little bit this year on some matches. He’s been playing really well. He’s had a very good year. He reached a quarterfinal in US Open, I think, so I will have to be ready for a tough fight if it’s against Lloyd.
I think also he has improved his baseline game, and he’s more of an all-around player now. Obviously I know that his serve is wicked and I have to be ready for tough returns.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports