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December 30, 2021

Christian Ruud

Casper Ruud

Viktor Durasovic

Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen

Leyton Rivera

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team Norway

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Team Norway, coming back here, you had good experience in year one in Perth, a great experience against Team USA. How much are you looking forward to the first tie against Serbia here?

CHRISTIAN RUUD: I think we look very much forward to coming here again and playing for the second time. Of course we play a strong team in the first round, but I think all the players on the Norwegian team have developed. I think we are coming here with also positive energy and I believe we can win more matches this year also.

Q. Casper, as the highest-ranked singles player in your group and as the standout player on your team, do you feel extra responsibility each time you're going to step out on the court to bring a win for the team?

CASPER RUUD: Well, I think this year I think I will have more maybe expectations than the last time we played ATP Cup, because two years ago we were the last team in, we were a bit lucky to get in, because Switzerland didn't enter, so Norway got the last spot.

We were underdogs in every match we played. I was able to get two good wins in Perth, which was kind of the beginning of a good year for me. This year I'm coming, like you said, I wouldn't have been the No. 1 player in the group if Novak would have played, but with him, you know, not playing, I am. It feels of course that I will try of course to win every match, but at the same time, every match will be tough. Every opponent is a tough opponent.

I have three good matches to start the year, so I'm just happy to get to play some matches again. Hopefully I can bring some wins for the team.

Yeah, I'm not going to think too much about the pressure and all these things, but I'm coming here as, you know, a better player than two years ago, so some pressure I will maybe feel, yes.

Q. Do you expect to play doubles if the tie is still alive?

CASPER RUUD: Yes, I think so. We did last time. If it's 1-All after singles, yeah, or if the match is still alive, then, yes, I will probably jump on the court again for doubles.

We will try to get another good win like we did two years ago against USA. USA is not in our group this year, but there are other teams that we will get to face. I think we believe in victory. Every day we will wake up with a new match ahead of us.

Q. Viktor, could you reflect on your 2020 debut when you got to play a couple of big names, in Khachanov and Fritz. What did you learn about playing against those guys? How much fun was it to be playing at that level?

VIKTOR DURASOVIC: Definitely a lot of fun, even though it was hard to enjoy, even though it was hard to enjoy to the max, because of obviously experiencing something new, but I had some more or a few experiences like that, well, still this year, and so I'm hoping that those experiences can prepare me a little better this time for the challenges ahead.

I'm excited, I think, yeah, I can give myself a good chance to bring a good level.

Q. This question could be for either Lukas, Andreja or Leyton, whoever wants to take it. When you look at what Casper has done in recent years, does that give you inspiration and belief that you can also make big jumps in your careers?

ANDREJA PETROVIC: I mean, what Casper has done in the last couple years, especially last year and now this year, is obviously motivating and he's in super form right now, he's playing amazing tennis, obviously gives a lot of motivation. And I think that obviously I want to try to do that some day, but yeah, it's just super motivating see him do that. He just keeps getting better and better. Good to have him on the team. Yeah.

Q. Last year a lot was made about Russia having their secret weapon in Karatsev. Do you have a secret weapon who's going to surprise people this year?

CHRISTIAN RUUD: Yeah, we have Lukas. He's the toughest guy on the team. He's a good grinder, he always has some jokes on the side. We might pull him out on the important match.

Q. How many came direct from Norway, from the northern winter, to the Australian summer? Has practice in December been difficult?

CHRISTIAN RUUD: No, it hasn't been difficult. We have been practicing indoors, of course, and it's cold. I think only Leyton was playing some tournaments in Doha, so all others are coming from Norway with the winter. So it's a little bit difficult, but we have done it a couple of times now before, so the players are good in adapting to the heat and outdoors. It shouldn't be a problem for us.

Q. Casper, can I ask you your reaction when you heard that Novak wasn't going to be your opponent? Were you happy about it, or were you the kind of guy that kind of wants to play the best and beat the best? What was your reaction when you heard you wouldn't be playing him?

CASPER RUUD: Well, I mean, I was prepared for a very tough match in the beginning of the year to start the year, 1st of January against Novak, is a fun experience, but at the same time it's tough, because, you know, he's the best player in the world, and I have played him a couple of times before and lost two times. In a way, I was hoping I could get another chance to beat him.

But at the same time it makes the tie not easier but their team, I'm not going to say easier or weaker because they have two really good players on the team anyways, but obviously it's, in a way, nice to not start against him, because we all know how good he is. Mixed feelings, but at the same time -- yeah, it's exciting to play the big guys, but at the same time if you want to look at the chances of getting a win for the team and for Norway, I would prefer not to play him.

Q. As one of the guys sort of breaking through that top 10, one of the young guys who are starting to contend at the pointier end of slams, do you hope he's in Melbourne to play the Australian Open, or do you hope he's not and it's open to one of the younger guys to try and take that Australian Open crown which he's been so dominating in winning over the last 10, 15 years?

CASPER RUUD: Well, I think this year can be a change who wins the Australian Open. Of course, there have been other champions in the past 10, 15 years, but Novak has obviously dominated.

But I think, yeah, there are a bunch of young guys coming now that are hungry. Daniil got his first Grand Slam win this year, and I have seen Zverev going out and saying he's really eager and feels ready to get a Grand Slam win himself.

I think the confidence is there for the young guys to do something big this year, and I think I said it myself in the end of this year or in the end of the season I was asked, you know, to make a statement about next year in the Grand Slams, and I said that I think there will be a Grand Slam final in the coming year that is played with, you know, players that are 26 or 25 years old or younger, where a final is between two players of this age.

Let's see what happens. Could be in Australia. Obviously if Novak decides to play or is able to come he's the favorite to win I think still. But I think for me, as a player and young player's perspective, I hope that there will be younger finals this year, coming year.

Q. Casper, what is your opinion about Chile, about Garin? You know him well. Also, you know the country?

CASPER RUUD: Yes, I have great memories from Chile. Also good relationship with Cristian Garin, he's a young, a nice player. We played against each other a couple of times on the tour.

I have known him for some years already. It will be the third match I think of the group, and we're looking forward to a tough match. I know Cristian is playing good tennis and he's top 20 in the world for a good reason, so he's a good friend and good competitor.

Yeah, I will come back to Chile next year in Santiago to play the tournament. That's something I also look forward to. We have Leyton on the team, also has good memories from Chile. And he's half Chilean?

LEYTON RIVERA: Yeah, parents from Chile.

CASPER RUUD: Parents from Chile. We have good Chilean energy in the team already. We look forward to the match. Maybe Leyton will cheer for Chile, but that's okay. We have four other guys who will -- Lukas, he will cheer for us anyways.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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