"I am very excited to return to Estoril and the Cascais area to compete again in the Millennium Estoril Open. I spent a beautiful week in Portugal this year, with a lot of sunshine and the stadium always full; I got the tenth ATP trophy of my career, so the title ended up having a double meaning for me", recalls Casper Ruud.
"I said at the time that the Millennium Estoril Open would have my vote for the best 250 tournament on the circuit and that is one of the reasons for my return. They had told me fantastic things about the region, the event, the official hotel, the people who organise it and also the Portuguese fans. Everything was confirmed and I still had fun speeding at the Estoril racetrack. I can't wait to go back!"
Casper Ruud became, at the time, the highest-ranked player ever to compete at the Millennium Estoril Open (he was fourth in the ATP Tour hierarchy) and justified his credentials by snatching the trophy in front of packed stands at the Estoril Tennis Club – it was the best possible start to a European clay season in which he repeated his presence in the final of Roland-Garros . But the likable Norwegian didn't just seduce with his powerful right-hand technical execution or clay court expertise; he was unsurpassed in sympathy with the national fans and the eloquence of his interviews made him one of the most popular champions in the history of international tournaments held in Portugal.
"It is with great pleasure that we announce the return of Casper Ruud, defending champion of the Millennium Estoril Open and someone with a personality that marks all those who know him or saw him play", underlines João Zilhão; "He is an exemplary tennis player for the values he instills, for his charisma, for being a leader of opinion within the tennis world and for having a spectacular tennis based on the tremendous right hand that impressed the Portuguese public so much. In addition to a dozen titles, the presence in three Grand Slam finals and in the final of the ATP Finals confirms him as one of the protagonists of the circuit", says the director of the Millennium Estoril Open.
The young Scandinavian's excellent reputation led him to also be a protagonist in the Netflix series Break Point and a national hero in his country: he quickly surpassed his father Christian Ruud to become the best Norwegian tennis player of all time, after being number one in the junior world in 2016. He entered the top 10 of the ATP Tour hierarchy in September 2021 and in September 2022 he was one victory away from reaching first place by qualifying for the US Open final, closing that season with access to the final match of the ATP Finals.
In 2023, and in addition to the triumph at the Millennium Estoril Open, he played a second consecutive final at Roland Garros; a year after being stopped only by Rafael Nadal (the best ever on clay), he only lost to Novak Djokovic (in a duel that allowed the Serbian to break the record for Grand Slam titles). He closed the season in 11th place in the ranking.
The 2024 edition of the Millennium Estoril Open will take place from 30 March to 7 April (Easter Sunday will be 31 March) and tickets are already on sale and can be purchased at the usual places. A special Christmas pack is also on sale at FNAC.