Three years ago, Emil Ruusuvuori played in the inaugural ATP Masters 1000 tournament at the Western & Southern Open held in New York later that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his third ATP Tour main draw, Finn was facing American Sebastian Korda.
but only in the blink of an eye The Helsinki native also earned 20 points from the final 22 to secure the biggest win of his career and secure his place in the top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP rankings.
“That was a big match and one that got me in the top 100, so it was a big match. A big win for me coming 5-2 behind in third,” Russuvuori told ATPTour.com. “I believe I’ve won 15 points in a row or something. We have both come a long way from there.”
On Monday, Ruusuvuori returned to the Western & Southern Open, this time in his traditional home in Cincinnati. The Finn cruised to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Corentin Moutet to set up a second-round clash with Monte-Carlo champion Andrey Rublev.
When Ruusuvuori broke through for the first time in the tournament. He is new in the industry. He is now a rising star who reached career-high No. 37 in the world earlier this year. It has been a long journey since he moved his training base to the Jarkko Nieminen tennis academy in Helsinki, now closed in Helsinki, at the age of 14. His longtime coach, Federico Ricci, is the academy director.
“I remember that summer. He had a bad summer. I think he lost badly in the European Under-14s first round and he didn’t want to play. And his parents questioned his commitment to it. Even the commitment to attend the Academy,” Ritchie says. ‘I don’t know if he’s ready to play that much tennis.’ He didn’t really want to play after losing at the European Championships.
“He’s about to quit. Even playing other sports and things like that. I remember talking to his parents that summer. And he ended up starting work in late August. And it started from there.”
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Ruusuvuori (far right) celebrating his junior title. Photo: Federico Ricci.
Ruusuvuori was the first to admit that he wasn’t as hot as some of his competitors. Especially off the field, Finn is one of the most relaxed players on the ATP Tour.
“If you think he’s shy right now, So he was very embarrassed at the time,” Ricci said.
But on the field, Ruusuvuori’s game was all about himself. He is one of the top goalscorers on tour. and in the past few years He worked with Ricci to find the right mix of powerful tempo and more consistent playing. More selection on when to follow the ball and set up. to use his powers But it’s not about his physical game, according to the Italian coach.
“Of course we are working on a lot of his tennis. and about his body [side]But also a little bit of flexibility and acceptance of his chosen life. and making sure you get the most out of it. even in terms of enjoyment “Sometimes he thinks about the quiet and simple life in Finland. And of course it’s a lot busier here.
“Every day there is something on the line. Every day he has the opportunity to improve. You have pressure and you have to be strong. And you need to be flexible in the route you take from tournament to tournament. Trip after trip, lose and win, win and lose, and of course, sometimes you feel, ‘Ah, it’s so nice to sit by the lake without worrying’, you just have to keep doing that. Because if you continue It will be much easier for me to develop him as a tennis player.”
Ruusuvuori learned many lessons in his first season on the ATP Tour, some of the most valuable of which had nothing to do with technique or tennis.
“I cannot speak for everyone. but at least for me Those things you might face off the pitch. You are still a person Originally still on the field,” said Rusuvuori. “It’s a little different. But still, it definitely has an effect. So understanding that I think is a big deal. But you also have to work.
“I’m a very aggressive player. but sometimes off the field I’m not the most aggressive or the most social. Maybe people just don’t really get along. [the player] In that sense on the court So that’s something I need to work on off the court as well. And maybe a little bit more off-court aggressiveness to be more aggressive on-court.”
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Ricci explained that it was a bit of a challenge for Finn to “play with his personality”.
“But I think he grew into who he was. or who he is as a player He’s always been a guy who likes to hit the ball in his own way,” says Ricci. He kicked hard. regardless of what the other party does It’s a challenge sometimes. Especially during times when confidence can be diminished and things like that. But we are working through it and working to make him more comfortable.”
Despite Ruusuvuori’s successful start to the ATP Tour, he has learned that there are always new obstacles to overcome. And he continues to work hard to go beyond each list.
“You always get new challenges, new things you have to overcome. But you learn and hopefully get better over time as well,” Rusuvuori said. “So it’s just a never ending cycle. no such thing ‘You made it’ is just continuous work and that’s what I’ve learned over the last couple of years.”
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