Casper Ruud, is returning to New Zealand in January.
World No 2 Casper Ruud has been confirmed for January’s ASB Classic.
Fresh from making it to the final of the US Open, where he lost to Carlos Alcaraz, the Norwegian has been announced as the player who’ll be the top seed for next year’s men’s event in Auckland.
“This is a fantastic coup for the event, for ASB and for tennis fans,” ASB Classic tournament director, Nicolas Lamperin said.
“Casper has been one of the most improved players on the circuit over the last 18 months and is part of the new breed of exciting, athletic and skilful players.
“He enjoyed our tournament when he last played here and had indicated he wanted to come back. It is a huge extra bonus for all tennis fans that he comes back as one of the world’s best players.”
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Ruud has enjoyed an incredible 2022, making the final of the French, as well as the US Open, while he has also won tournaments in Gstaad, Geneva and Buenos Aires.
For the men’s Classic it had become harder to attract the very elite players, because most of them preferred to spend the week before the Australian Open preparing in Melbourne.
However, Ruud has decided he wants to play a tournament in week two of the 2023 calendar and has chosen Auckland as his destination.
“New Zealand is a very beautiful country. I’ve been a couple of times before,” Ruud said.
“The conditions are very similar to Melbourne so it is a nice tournament to play and I look forward to it.
“I am a player who likes to play a lot of matches if I can. New Zealand’s a nice event and a place I have happy memories from.
“It is typically good weather. It’s summer time and I am coming from Norway where it is Christmas snowing and cold. They have a good culture, good food, good people and it’s fun to play in front of New Zealand crowds.
“There’s a good history of tennis at the tournament which has been played for many years so they know what they are doing.
“I am a big fan of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings movies that were recorded there. I know the nature and the scenery are incredible so that would be nice to explore.”
In 2014, Spaniard David Ferrer came to Auckland ranked No 3 in the world and twice before that visited as the world No 5, but this will be the first time in the modern history of the tournament that a men’s player ranked as high as Ruud will play at Stanley Street.
World No 8 Cameron Norrie has already been announced for the men’s Classic, making this the first time in modern history the tournament will boast two players inside the top 10.
The Classic runs from January 2-14, with the women’s tournament taking place over the first week, followed by the men’s.