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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, March 11, 2024

It's been said you have to lose to learn how to win.

Significant loss has helped put Casper Ruud back on the winning track.

More: Grigor Dimitrov on Pure Beauty

Arriving in Indian Wells empowered by reaching back-to-back finals in Mexico, Ruud stopped Arthur Fils 6-2, 6-4 to roll into the BNP Paribas Open round of 16 for the second time. Ruud will face 37-year-old Gael Monfils for a quarterfinal spot.

World No. 9 Ruud improved to 15-3 on the season after posting a 37-23 record in a subpar 2023 season.

So what's the difference?

Ruud's revival has come from a key change: he lightened up.

The 25-year-old Norwegian has shed nearly 10 pounds over the past year and says he's feeling lighter on his feet and moving quicker without sacrificing any power.

"I think physically I'm feeling a little bit better this year, and moving better out on court," Ruud told the media in Indian Wells. "I said it quite honestly or honest and openly a couple of weeks ago that I slimmed down a little bit, I took off a couple of kilos from last year.

"I think that's been working well for me. I have the power still in my shots, and I'm moving a little lighter on my feet. That's something that I have been working on. And, you know, moving a little more mobile and flexible out there is always a good thing. Trying to play more aggressive, you know, tennis-wise. So there are a couple of things that I have adjusted from last year, and obviously I had a longer probably better preseason period in December than what I had coming into 2023, so that is probably also part of the reason to why this year has gone better so far."

The 2022 US Open finalist did not adopt a strict diet or subscribe to a meal plan. Ruud says he kept is simple cutting down sweets and carbs which led to the weight loss.

"Well, not too much sweets, chocolate, sugar, all these things, just to slim down a little bit. Eating clean, maybe eating a little bit less, you know, carbohydrates and stuff," Ruud said. "I haven't been on a specific this and this, that many calories-only diet. But I had it in the back of my mind, not something that was kind of time pressure that I need to be this certain weight within this time.

"But last year in February I was around 84 kilos and this year I'm 80, so it's 4 kilos less. Maybe doesn't sound too much, but it's 5% of my weight, which is something or at least something. So it's something that I'm not going to say I have worked on it but it's come naturally after working hard and changing a little bit in my diet, yeah."

Photo credit: BNP Paribas Open Facebook