Casper Ruud’s Not-So-Secret Love: Golf!

I hope everyone is doing well during these tough times!

I just moved into a new apartment here in Oslo, so that’s been quite a project. I’ve been working on some things in the interior and really making it my own. It’s actually been pretty busy with a lot going on and I’ve made sure to spend time with my family, friends and girlfriend.

Everything has been nice and relaxing. Oslo is next to the sea, so I’ve been heading out on a boat every now and then, having some nice dinners with friends. I’m just trying to take some time off and disconnect from tennis a little bit because in a year we play so many tournaments, travelling all over the world, so while hard work is important, it’s good to disconnect here and there, too.

I want to tell you something about me you might not know: I love golf! During my free time here in Oslo, I’ve been playing a lot of it. It’s a big passion of mine and I’ve been playing since I’m pretty young. There are actually two PGA Tour players from Norway — Viktor Hovland and Kristoffer Ventura — so it is really fun to follow them.

There are two or three pretty good golf courses here in the Oslo area. My home club is about 30 minutes away by car. There’s a really nice one only 15 minutes away, so I’m on the waiting list to become a member! Hopefully in 10 years I can join that club too.

I love the way that golf is so challenging, but it’s also possible for normal people to earn a good score. Anyone can make a birdie if they are a bit lucky and in those moments it feels so easy to play golf. At other times, it feels so hard. The highs and lows of the sport are extreme, even more than tennis, and the details are so small. If you hit the ball one millimetre to the right or left on the club, the ball will fly so much differently. You really have to focus and it’s a nice feeling to hit a good golf shot. I’ve gotten to a certain level where I could get a good score and that makes it even more enjoyable because I’m making progress.

I try to play as much golf as I can, but I have to spend some time with my girlfriend as well, because golf takes a lot of time! It takes half a day to play a full round of 18 holes and that’s the issue. If it was an hour or two or three less it would be better, but at the same time you always want to play 18 holes when you go out there, so you have to try to balance a little bit the golf and time with the close ones.

At the same time, many of us tennis players are excited to start competing in our sport again. It’s something we miss. It’s not been too easy to find the best sparring partners in Oslo, but I’ve been doing well, hitting with some junior players and I feel like I don’t feel too far off from the level and the tempo of the big guys. I’m getting even more motivated to get back to the Tour.

Luckily because the coronavirus has not been too bad here, I’ve been able to practise since the beginning of April and treat this as a training period. I think it’s been an advantage that I’m pretty young. It’s easier for the young guys to keep the high level and intensity up compared to the older guys. This period could be an advantage for us if we use the time well.

I haven’t made any major technical changes to my game. However, I would say I’ve made good improvements in many different areas. I’ve tried taking my game to a new level by trying new ways of playing. I’ve purposely practised inside the court and been much more aggressive. In some practices I’ve been ridiculously aggressive just to try it and understand what it feels like to play like that so that if I do it in matches, I’ll be more comfortable. Doing things you don’t usually do is important. It’s been a good period for me to develop my game that way.

When the Tour stopped in Indian Wells, it was hard to know if we should plan for two months off or half a year off, and it’s been difficult to know how hard to train and for how long. I’ve been doing more or less five or six days a week of tough sessions, but also enjoying some time off, especially in the afternoons. I try to practise in the morning to have some time off to do something else like golf because if you just practise and practise week after week you’ll eventually get tired of it.

Whenever I’ve stepped on court during this period, I’ve done it with good focus and intensity. But at the same time, I’ve been able to do that because of the time I’ve enjoyed off the court with family and friends. Being at home in Oslo has been nice. If I have a good career, this will hopefully be my last summer here in Norway for the next 10 to 15 years. I have enjoyed it, but have also been focusing well. I’ve been able to keep my motivation up and enjoying some time off on the weekends and then when I’m back Monday, I’m motivated for good practices.

At the same time, everyone has to take care with the virus because it’s very serious and all over the world. I hope everyone stays safe and I hope to see you on court soon!