Casper Ruud reached two Grand Slam finals in a stellar 2022 and is seeded second at the Australian Open but the Norwegian is downplaying his chances at Melbourne Park, saying he will be “more than happy” just to reach the fourth round.
The world number three, who also won three claycourt titles last year, lost to Rafa Nadal in the French Open final before falling to Carlos Alcaraz in the U.S. Open final and Novak Djokovic in Turin.
Ruud, who faces Tomas Machac in his Melbourne Park opener, told reporters on Saturday he wanted to “stay humble” in terms of his expectations. The 24-year-old said his progress had given him plenty of reasons to believe in himself but knows how it difficult it is to get to major finals year after year.
“I’d love to do it and I’m going to give it a try, but the odds are not in favour of that happening,” he added.
Ruud had an inauspicious start to last year, withdrawing from the Australian Open with an ankle injury suffered a day before his opener.
“Here we are, I’ve reached two finals,” Ruud said. “But nothing’s changed too much. Honestly, I know that it’s possible, which is a nice feeling.
“At the same time I know the competition is so hard and so strong that I cannot expect myself to do well every single time I play a Slam.”
Ruud was going strong at the 2021 Australian Open, reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, before retiring against Andrey Rublev.
“A quarter-final is a great result, in my eyes. A semi-final even (better),” he said. “My best result here is fourth round, which I still look at as a great result.
“If I’m able to reach fourth round this year, I’ll be more than happy about it.
“At the same time I know that my belief in reaching even further is there. I know it has happened before, so it’s easier in a way to think it could happen again.”