Emil Ruusuvuori was named not long ago one of the most promising players on the ATP circuit. An electric game, very clean and aesthetic blows and the ability to subdue practically any player with his blows. Let them tell Carlos Alcaraz not long ago…
“That was a great game, yes”. Emil Ruusuvuori He can’t help but smile when remembering a game that has remained in the memory of many. When talking about game profiles that hurt the Murcian, the Finn’s appears on the list immediately due to a display to the rest that left the crowd open-mouthed. Madrid. He didn’t get the win, but he did score some great victories this year against names like Andrey Rublev o Jannik Sinner…although its ending has not been the desired one.
After reaching #38 in the world ranking and reaching the quarterfinals of the Miami Openinjuries and the lack of consistency They have weighed down Emil. Many have put the young Finn out of the spotlight, who wants to shine in these Finals of the Davis Cup 2023 and make history for his country, which reaches this stage for the first time in its history. Emil speaks openly about the improvements he wants to make next year, the importance of the competition, the difficulty of establishing himself in the most absolute elite and the fragile balance between the search for points and physical condition. interview exclusive with break point from Malaga.
CN: Emil, thank you for speaking with Puntodebreak. Your captain (Jarkko Nieminen) has already talked about this, but I would like to know from your perspective: how historic is it for Finland to be here, in the Davis Cup Finals?
ER: Personally it is also at the top of the successes I have had. Being able to share it with my colleagues is incredible. I have noticed the difference a lot when I have returned home, I have noticed that our country’s support for the national team has grown, I feel that now we receive that attention. That’s probably what I’ve felt the most.
Could it be that tomorrow 3,000 Finns will travel to support you?
Yeah that’s right.
That’s incredible for a country with a relatively young tennis tradition.
Of course, you can see what I told you, the fact that we are now receiving more attention helps a lot. Many Finns live near here, but there are also quite a few who use their time to come here to support us from Finland. It is spectacular.
Possibly one of your greatest victories as a professional occurred in this competition, in the year in which you began to approach the elite: 2019… against a certain Dominic Thiem.
It’s clear. That match is one of the best memories that tennis has given me. It was my first big victory against a very important player, against someone who has been a Grand Slam champion. I still remember the emotions I experienced, I still remember the butterflies in your stomach that you feel when you are playing at another level, when your game ‘clicks’. You could say that that game was the beginning of my journey.
Let’s talk about that trip. You were one of the most successful players on the Challenger circuit in recent times, winning many titles and losing very little. What is more difficult: to reach that elite, to be within the top-100, or to be able to stay close to the best?
I think the most difficult thing is to stay there. At least speaking of my particular case, although I think I can speak for many. There comes a time when you can get the hang of the Challenger circuit: you have a lot of confidence, you are winning, you feel like you are just going out to play and you feel great. However, everything goes very quickly: suddenly you arrive on the ATP circuit, maybe you get a couple of victories, as was my case, and you are up for a couple of years, with a couple of big victories… but being there every other week and week too, that’s the most complicated.
I wanted to ask you about the injuries you’ve had recently: elbow, here you come with shoulder problems… do you think that the constant changing of balls, week after week, has something to do with your discomfort?
With the shoulder injury probably not. It could be, but I would say no. It is true that I have suffered for more than two years with my elbow: there are times when the pain comes and goes, but it is there, constantly. It is clear that we must improve in that aspect, that I can be stronger and that I can handle it better. What I can guarantee you 100% is that it doesn’t help at all that we are constantly changing conditions. I also have to take a look at my schedule with the team, put together a schedule in which I can play two weeks with the same ball, because if you change every week you are taking too much risk.
I would say that this issue is one of the biggest issues that the ATP must solve at this time.
Yes, it surely is. The amount of travel and playing time too, but with a ranking like mine that’s how this sport works. Only Novak can play ten tournaments a year and be number one (laughs). For the rest… things are not so simple. We have to play a lot because there are many results that count, 19. The trips, the balls… all that influences. Everyone says they would like to play less, but we end up playing almost every week. This is how we have to do it, that’s what the circuit pushes us to do.
To close: tell me your best memory from 2023 and your goals and dreams for 2024 (besides winning the Davis Cup, of course).
The best tournament, without a doubt, is the Miami Open, where I reached the quarterfinals. During the summer I got a couple of new wins against the top-10 as well, against Jannik (Sinner) and Andrey (Rublev). Those two victories were enormous, very important, but unfortunately since then I began to have problems with my health, I was not able to maintain the level. That is the most important thing for next year, getting the body strong enough to last the whole year, make some changes, be smarter, do things better in terms of calendar, work and rest. “I will try to learn from my mistakes and do better, because if I don’t succeed I will continue to fall into that vicious circle, that is not how you improve as a player.”
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