Casper Ruud confident he can become World No 1 in Australia

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Ruud reached two Grand Slam finals in 2022, coming within one win of being the World No 1 as well. Having missed the 2022 Australian Open, Ruud has no points to defend in Melbourne. His assessment that a good Australian Open swing could see him become World No 1 is not without merit. Question marks hang over the fitness of the two men currently ranked above him on the ATP Rankings. Neither Rafael Nadal nor Carlos Alcaraz have produced their best tennis in recent weeks but the exhibitions they have been limited to probably don't merit being over-analysed. Ruud is the reason Norway are set to line up in the mixed teams event that kicks off the 2023 season, on 29 December 2022. "If there is maybe one time that it could happen again, it's actually in the near future," Ruud said ahead of the inaugural United Cup. Norway start their United Cup campaign against Brazil with Ruud set to take on Thiago Monteiro in his first match. "If I have a good trip I can be in a position (to become number one) again," Ruud believes that his season can be kickstarted in the United Cup. His close calls in Paris and New York serve as inspiration for Ruud, who believes he has the game to go all the way at a Grand Slam. "It gives me motivation to keep going and know that you were very close at one time, but maybe that will be the closest you will ever be," he said. "Maybe you'll get it, and maybe you will be in a close position another time in your career. 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 - you never know in this sport." Ruud is a much-improved player on hard courts and should be a top contender throughout the Australian Open season. The ATP Tour doesn't dish out too many rankings points ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year which means that much of Ruud's ranking ambitions will hang on his performance in Melbourne. The draw for the Australian Open takes place on Thursday, 12 January, with the seedings to be announced the day before.

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