Rod Laver: Casper Ruud is the real thing

Australian tennis legend Rod Laver dropped a major praise on Casper Ruud, saying the Norwegian is the “real thing.”

On Sunday, Ruud saw off Cameron Norrie 6-0 6-2 to win the San Diego Open title.

Laver, a former world No. 1, was in the stands watching the final. 

“This kid is the real thing,” Laver said of Ruud, per Jose Morgado.

After the final, Ruud gave a shout out to Laver. 

“Special thanks to Rod, obviously the legend. I think you need to come to all my matches now because I’m playing really good when you come and watch,” Ruud said during the trophy ceremony. “I hope you will come to Indian Wells next week to watch, so let’s see [what happens there]!”

Ruud wins a tour-leading fifth title of the season 

Ruud now has won five titles this year, one more than Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. 

Djokovic maybe has one less title than Ruud but three of his four titles in 2021 came at the Grand Slam level. 

“It’s a fun thing to say it, but obviously Daniil and Novak have bigger titles, so I wouldn’t mind switching up with them if I had an opportunity to switch five 250s to three Slams and a 250 Novak has. It’s a bit higher level, but that’s fine. I think that’s more impressive obviously than five 250s, but I will take it,” Ruud said, cracking a laugh. “It would be fun to end the year with the most titles, I cannot lie about that.”

Ruud, 22, has played five finals in 2021 and won as many titles. 

“I tried to be playing really good in finals knowing it’s now or never. This is the time to bring your ‘A’ game,” Ruud said. “This year I’ve been perfect in finals, five of five and playing against good players in all of them.”