Eliminated already in the second round of the Australian Open, the number 2 seed regretted the defeat this Thursday to the North American Jenson Brooksby by 6/3, 7/5, 6/7 (4-7 ) and 6/2. According to the Norwegian’s own assessment, the merit was all of the opponent, who found alternatives at the right times.
“I told you on the net that he was annoyingly good today. There were several rallies where I was controlling the point and then somehow it bounced back. It’s frustrating and annoying when you feel like you have the moment in a rally and the opponent makes a move like he did in the last game, for example, putting a ball on the line. It was a tough match physically, but he fought well and didn’t seem affected by the length of the game,” he said.
Ruud also admitted that he didn’t serve as well as he should against a great returner. Throughout the match, Brooksby broke the world number 3’s serve nine times and took advantage of the opponent’s second serve, winning 62% of the points in those conditions.
“I gave it my all, but in the fourth set especially it wasn’t enough. The first two sets were a little more even, but I ended up getting broken a little too much. Perhaps that was the key to today’s defeat. I didn’t serve precisely enough, and against Jenson, who has a great return, he’s going to make things difficult if you don’t serve well.”
Asked if the preparation for the Australian Open was rushed, in which he made an exhibition tour in Latin America with Rafael Nadal, played friendly tournaments in the Middle East and amended the United Cup dispute without much time to rest, Ruud said he will reassess the schedule for the coming seasons.
“It’s very easy to sit here now and say it was bad for me and Rafa because we lost early here. I think sometimes it’s just coincidence. Maybe the preparation wasn’t enough to be able to perform well here. My team and I will consider what we will do this December and assess whether this was the right path for the Australian Open or not. It might seem like it wasn’t, but there are many factors that come into play. I did what I felt was right, but I wasn’t able to play and win as many games as I had hoped.”
Interestingly, just like Nadal the day before, Ruud suffered from physical problems and needed medical attention during the match. He, however, played down the injury. “It was a bit of tension and a slight pain in my abdomen. It’s something that’s been with me for about two years, ever since I pulled up here [in Melbourne] in the fourth round, and it tightens my left side when serving. I hope it’s nothing serious, but it comes back here and there sometimes, so I need to take care of it and get rid of this nuisance.”