Ruud on a roll after Geneva boost

The 2022/2023 Roland-Garros runner-up faces Lucky Loser Felipe Meligeni Alves in the first round.

Casper Ruud, Roland-Garros 2024©️Jean-Charles Caslot / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Heading into a Grand Slam, peaking just at the right time is a key factor in separating the good players from the great.

Casper Ruud is becoming quite the expert.

To borrow an analogy from the world No.7, "I kind of build up this wave of confidence and hopefully we can continue surfing on that wave."

The 25-year-old is riding high after his "best start" to a season. In terms of clay, Ruud began his road to Roland-Garros with a semi-final spot in Estoril in April, prior to defeating world No.1 Novak Djokovic en route to the Monte-Carlo final. Stefanos Tsitsipas lifted the title ithere, but Ruud turned the tables to defeat the Greek in the Barcelona final the following week.

Early exits in Madrid and Rome left more questions than answers, but Ruud regrouped, headed to Switzerland and took the silverware.

Despite that formidable form and tally of results, Ruud modestly doesn’t include himself in the title contenders in Paris – he considers at least four players ahead of him in those stakes.

Here's the Ruud men's draw preview.

"Obviously winning the tournament is a good feeling. It gives you confidence, but it feels like it's anyone's tournament and anyone's game really," Ruud said.

"If you look it's been several different winners on the clay this year, and in the three Masters 1000 alone there's been three different winners.

"The top three guys, they haven't won any big tournaments on clay this year, so I'm pretty sure they're hungry to get a big title.

"To me even though Novak (Djokovic) hasn't had the best year as he typically has or the same level, I think he is still the favourite. He is the No.1 seed, and he has 24 Slams under his belt, so if there's anyone who knows when to find their peak and form, it's probably him.

"Then after that it's a lot of other guys, and I also want to mention Rafa (Nadal) obviously. He is not seeded and he has not maybe played the way he used to play on clay, but if he is physically fit, he is up there in the favourites.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Monte Carlo Masters 2024©️Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

"It's tough to leave any of those out due to the fact that Rafa has won here 14 times and then Jannik (Sinner) and Carlos (Alcaraz) have been the best of the younger generation in the past year or two. I think that's a good list of four." 

On Saturday, the world No.7 had to win both his semi-final and final matches to post his 12th title triumph. He reeled in Flavio Coboli 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) and then fought past Tomas Machac for a 7-5, 6-3 victory in the final.

He might not count himself as a favourite, but the Norwegian is certainly riding that wave.

"It was a bit of a long day yesterday (Saturday) with two matches, but at the same time it's good preparation," he added. "I got to play five sets yesterday, which you might have to do here as well.

"So happy with another title and trying to build some momentum coming into Paris was the goal in Geneva, and I think it worked quite well."

Noting that Geneva is only three hours away by train, or a quick flight, Ruud knew it was the perfect spot to switch his mindset towards major glory.

"I think in my case it's getting into the zone, tournament zone again. And the fact that I lost the first round in Rome left me almost 18 days if I was waiting all the way until starting in Paris," he said.

"I don't have any other top-100, top-150 players to practice with in Norway, so it was either going to Geneva or to Paris a week before to practice.

"I'm coming into the tournament here now with four good matches under my belt and trying to continue the current good feeling, to keep it going here in Paris."