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Casper Ruud Believes He Needs to Step Up the Forehand to Find Big Success Again

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Casper Ruud was one of the biggest success stories of the 2022 tennis season. He won 51 matches, claimed three titles and reached two Grand Slam finals, at Roland-Garros and the US Open.

Tennis Express

After finishing the season at No.3 in the world, Ruud has experienced a bit of a letdown in 2023. He was bounced from the Australian Open in the second round, losing to Jenson Brooksbyt in four sets, and has only compiled an 11-8 record through the first four months of the season.

Ruud did manage to win his tenth career title at Estoril earlier this month, but he has not managed back-to-back wins at any other event.

Ahead of the Madrid Open Ruud says he needs to turn up the aggression, particularly with his bread-and-butter forehand.

“If you look at the best players in the world, they play aggressive, they take control of the points and they take charge, and lately I think I've been sort of hoping a little bit too much for mistakes from the opponent,” the World No.4 said.

Turn up the Volume with the Forehand

Ruud says he plans to add more risk to his game in the coming weeks and months. He was asked how he plans to do that.

“I think playing more aggressively, especially with my forehand, it's what I rely on and my strength in my game to be on base on my forehand and I think I haven't been able to play aggressive enough, or hit too many winners from that side lately,” he said, adding: “I think I need to step up a little bit and take some more risk, maybe throw in a drop shot here and there… I want to be a little bit more unpredictable maybe from that side and I think that's something I will try to work on this week.”

Ruud, who owns a lifetime record of 105 and 39 on clay, is 6-2 on his best surface this year. He isn’t worried about his current form. Rather, he just wants to make subtle changes that make him more effective at the most important tournaments of the clay-court season.

“Everyone has their own game style,” he said. “Me, I just hate doing mistakes by overpowering, or going for too big winners. So that's sort of something that I need to change, maybe a little bit mentally for me, to play a little bit more aggressive, take some more risk and go for some shots that I typically won't,” he said. “At the same time, I'd like to think that the playing style that I have has taken me pretty far already – there's no need to change too much other than trying to play with a little bit more dedication in the rallies and play a little bit more depth so that my opponents can't attack me as much.”

Ruud will face either Benoit Paire or Matteo Arnaldi in second-round action, after a bye, at Madrid.