My dad played with Federer & retired a millionaire… now I’m star of my family
CASPER RUUD is Norway’s greatest tennis player in history.
And he snatched that prestigious title away from his dad – with both father and son sharing a court with Roger Federer.
Christian Ruud, 51, enjoyed a fine career as an ATP professional from 1991 to 2001, racking up £1.1million in prize money.
His best performance at the majors came when he reached round four at the 1997 Australian Open but he could not get over the line to win his one and only ATP Tour final, losing out on the 1995 Swedish Open.
Ruud Sr – who barely remembers practising with a young Federer at an exhibition event in Houston – did land 12 Challenger tournament victories and represented Norway at three Olympics.
And his career-high ranking of 39 in the world was the best of any Norwegian male in history… until Casper surpassed him in February 2020.
Christian and wife Lele welcomed Casper in December 1998 in Oslo.
Less than four weeks later, the dad was in Melbourne for his final Australian Open appearance.
Now the retired ex-player is coaching his son to challenge among the very top players on the planet.
Casper, 24, certainly made a major impact at junior level, reaching the French Open and US Open finals and the world No1 ranking.
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And his struggles in Grand Slam finals has, so far, translated into senior tennis.
Ruud was comprehensively beaten by Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2022 and Novak Djokovic a year later.
He did win a set against Carlos Alcaraz in the 2022 US Open final – with the winner guaranteed not only their maiden major but also the world No1 spot.
Alcaraz prevailed, forcing Ruud Jr to settle for a career-high No2, which earned him a place at the year-end ATP Finals as he lost to Djokovic in the final.
Ruud – regularly cheered on by his glamorous girlfriend Maria Galligani – has always favoured clay and it was on the red dirt of Paris that he got his first real breakthrough, reaching round three in 2019 where he took on 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer.
The Swiss legend said before a straight-sets win: “I know probably more about his dad than about him, even though I never played him, the father.
“I haven’t seen him play a whole lot. But for any 20-year-old to be on the big stage, playing a top guy on a centre court, that’s what you dream of. At least I did.”
But despite his runs to the final of three majors, ironically Ruud can only match his dad at the Australian Open with a round-four run in 2021.
And he has still never lost a Grand Slam quarter-final or semi-final.
But the Norwegian hero has endured a nightmare at Wimbledon winning two of his six matches after publicly admitting his dislike for grass – and even claiming he is allergic to the surface despite regularly playing golf with his sisters Caroline and Charlotte.
British world No142 Liam Broady took full advantage at the All England Club in 2023 with a memorable and thrilling five-set win on Centre Court.
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