December 28, 2022
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Hello, everyone. Team Norway. We will start with the first question. Each of you answer individually. We will start in the back and go to the floor, more questions here.
Welcome to Brisbane. How excited are you to play in the United Cup? Start from the back.
LILLY HASETH: Very excited. We have a great team.
ANDREJA PETROVIC: I'm really excited. We have a really good young team. Obviously it's called United Cup now, not ATP Cup now. Excited to have both men and women competing together. It's always an honor representing Norway. I'm really excited.
MALENE HELGO: I'm also very grateful and excited to be here. Thanks to Casper for qualifying us. I'm really excited to looking to play and looking forward.
VIKTOR DURASOVIC: Yeah, I think we are all pretty excited. It's going to be fun to see how this new United Cup is going to be compared to ATP Cup, for sure. Yeah.
ULRIKKE EIKERI: Yeah, we are very lucky to be able to qualify because of Casper. It's a big honor to be here, and I think we all just really want to take advantage of the opportunity, and we are hungry for some good results.
CASPER RUUD: Yeah, it's going to be fun. I think it's one of the few sports events where men and women will play together and against each other at the same time, so I think we are all excited to see how that will play out.
It's great to be a part of the first edition of the United Cup, and it's fun to bring along a young team with us and hope we can win a match or two. That would be great.
CAPTAIN RUUD: Yeah, we are all excited, of course. Norway is a small tennis country, so we all know each other very well. It's going to be fun to play together. These are the players we see every day when we are home.
With the new combined event, women and men, it's going to be interesting. Also fun to see if we can have maybe mixed doubles. We have never competed in mixed doubles as a team before. We will see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. (Question about Casper being given an award.)
CASPER RUUD: Yeah, I felt honored winning the prize, for sure. It's a prestigious prize and it's a prize I guess you can only win once in your life. I'm very happy to be able to do that. It's nice to be having knowledge from other people in Norway that I had a great season, and for sure I had some results that stood out that maybe was a part of me winning that medal.
Yeah, I felt honored and happy about it, so it was fun. It was a bunch of different sort of awards going on in Norway at the same time, so this is one of the nicer ones to win, I guess.
There will also be in beginning of January like a big, big sports awards thing that's going to air on TV and everything. I think that's like the main one. But to win this prize from the newspaper Aftenposten was, yeah, I felt very happy about it and it's nice to see that journalists and other people can acknowledge that tennis is growing and a tennis player can win it.
Q. Casper, you obviously had a great year with the final in the French Open and US Open. I don't think you were here for the Australian Open earlier this year. Just tell us the way tennis has gone for you and if you can break through and win a Grand Slam.
CASPER RUUD: Yeah, I don't know where to start, but from last season I had a rough start because (audio lost).
When Roland Garros came around, I felt like my clay game was starting to find its form and the draw opened up and gave me an opportunity to play in a final. Of course I came up short in the final, but that was kind of the beginning to me, I don't know, somehow maybe believing more in myself that I can have more bigger results like this, and a couple months later I was able to make another final in New York.
So, I mean, of course it boosts you, boosts your confidence on court, but you want to make sure that you don't take off and think that these finals will just come at any time.
So now in Australia it's going to be really exciting. We have a full stacked field again. Novak can come in, and he can play again. So it's going to be great to see who is going to be able to do well in Australia.
First of all here in United Cup, I hope that we can play well as a team and that the season, it's always exciting to come to Australia, marks the beginning of the new year, new season, and I feel happy to have my fellow Norwegians around. Hopefully this can be a part of a first stop of a good trip to Australia for me.
There has been a little bit back and forth some years, tough experiences, and other years I had a good experience when I reached the fourth round here a couple years ago. It's been a little bit good and bad, but I hope this year will be good (smiling).
Q. You could obviously be playing Australia later on in this tournament and could be up against Kyrgios. You've obviously had some great battles with. Can you just talk to us about your relationship with him, have had some set-tos, I suppose. How is that going, the Kyrgios-Casper scenario?
CASPER RUUD: You know, I didn't receive a Christmas card from him; nor did he receive one from me. But if we see each other we can say hello and there's no hard feelings.
Obviously there was a little feud, and the media always wants to make more than it is. Nick is such a talented player, and he can beat anyone. I mean, you don't want to have a feud going on against him because he will probably want to bring his A game every place.
There is really nothing going on. What happened in Rome many years ago happened, and he got the better of me last time in Indian Wells. He came to me in Laver Cup last year in Boston and congratulated me after my victory and said that I was doing great and so on. So he's been positive and cheering me on for the last year or so.
So, I mean, it was fun also to see him do so well in Wimbledon, you know, being there, like he said, without a coach and coaching himself to the final. He's a fun character to look at and watch on TV, so if we play, it's going to be hopefully a fun match. It always seems to be fun when he plays, but that's many days in case that happens, so let's see. There are two matches for to be played first, but you can always hope for a fun match like this.
Q. One of the other awards you won was the Stefan Edberg ATP award. How important is it to you about how you conduct yourself on court and around the tour?
CASPER RUUD: Yeah, I think it's nice to be a good sport, as you would say here in Australia. To behave well at any given time, I think that shows your character no matter -- you know, anyone can behave well when you're leading 6-2, 5-2, but to show good behavior when it's a close match and it doesn't go your way, I think that shows true character.
I don't know. I get frustrated a lot myself, so it's not like I am some kind of angel on court, but I guess throughout the year I've been able to behave good enough to get this recognition from other players.
I always want to try to play fair, if there is a close call or whatever, I would like -- and if I feel like the umpire has done the wrong call, I don't mind telling my feelings and maybe giving away some points -- not giving away points but giving away decisions that I feel maybe the umpire was wrong in my favor in a way, if that makes sense.
Yeah, this was maybe the award I felt most happy about winning after the season, and it was also an honor to be acknowledged by the other players that this year I've been a good sport and a fair opponent to my fellow opponents and colleagues.
Q. The mixed doubles element of this competition, it's one of the things that's good about this. You were the Roland Garros mixed finalist. How much confidence does it give you to come into this competition saying you're a Grand Slam finalist, and will it help you for the United Cup?
ULRIKKE EIKERI: I mean, obviously I love to play doubles, and mixed doubles as well. Actually, Roland Garros was my first time playing mixed doubles. I don't have that much experience. But, you know, that went very well. Yeah, I mean, it would be a lot of fun if we have the chance to play mixed doubles here as well. Yeah.
Q. Obviously that battle for No. 1 came down absolutely to the wire in that US Open final against Alcaraz and playing Djokovic in the ATP Finals. Missing out on the Grand Slam win, that title and that No. 1, does that just spur you on, or did that leave you disappointed at the end of the year, or does that really spur you on to greater heights?
CASPER RUUD: Well, I mean, since not reaching it, I have been able to sleep well, for sure, but of course I look back and wish I had won the match. It also gives motivation to keep going and know that you were very close at one time and maybe that will be the closest you will ever be. Maybe you'll get it and maybe you will be in a close position another time in your career.
It was fun, and I think it was great that the two finalists were playing for World No. 1, because I believe there was a scenario where one of us could have reached the final if the other one lost in the quarters or semis and you could have potentially lost the final and still become No. 1. I was much happier that we would play for world No. 1.
Of course it would be great to win it, but it gives me motivation to work hard. And also, like I said earlier, to believe in myself that it's possible. Because when you grow up from a small tennis country like Norway and you watch Nadal, Federer, Novak play these great matches all your life, it's tough sometimes to believe you can be there yourself one day.
I think last season has shown me that I have the potential if I continue to do the right things, work hard, I can be in that position again or it can never happen. So you never know in this sport. That's what's great about tennis, you really have to fight and earn your way up.
If there is maybe one time that it could happen again, it's actually in the near future, because last year I wasn't able to play Australia. If I have a good trip I can be in a position again. I don't want to think too much about this. I just want to play tennis and get the season going and see where we are at in the month's time.
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