Tennis: Auckland rain won't dampen world No.3 Casper Ruud's return to ASB Classic

Despite the meteorological mayhem inflicted over the ASB Classic women's tournament, world No.3 Casper Ruud is optimistic the skies will clear by the time the men's draw begins on Monday.

The Auckland tournament's first week back after a three-year COVID-enforced gap has been devastated by rain, forcing most of the matches indoors - away from spectators.

And with the forecast not looking like improving over the coming days, organisers could be hampered by having to play the tournament final indoors as well.

Casper Ruud.
Casper Ruud. Photo credit: Getty Images

However, it's hoped conditions will improve for part of the men's tournament, and at the very least see fans' patience rewarded with play at Auckland's ASB Tennis Centre.

For tournament top seed and world No.3 Ruud, making his return to Auckland after also travelling to Auckland in 2020, the rain hasn't dampened his spirits for his first singles tournament of the year.

"It's exciting to be back in Auckland," said Ruud. "It's [my] first time in some years due to the restrictions during COVID.

"It's been difficult for players to come here, and for the tournament to be held.

"I'm happy to be back - I hope the weather will clear a little bit, and we can have a nice time and the tournament will go well for the organisers and the players that do well, of course."

Like many before him, Ruud will use the ASB Classic as vital time on court in the build-up to the Australian Open, as the 24-year-old targets a first Grand Slam title.

Ruud was on the losing end of not one, but two Grand Slam finals in 2022, falling short at both Roland Garros in France, and the US Open.

But while match practice will be important for the Norwegian, time away from tennis is also going to play its part.

And while rain interrupting the ASB Classic wasn't enough, Ruud is just hopeful the weather won't interfere with his planned game of golf on Sunday.

"I didn't [check the forecast], maybe I should have," he joked. "It's going to be fine, I think next week is going to be clear.

"I'm heading out to play some golf tomorrow, that's the most important day to be clear for me.

"I don't mind playing indoor or outdoor tennis, that's fine, but as long as I have sun on the golf course - that's my biggest wish."