Last Updated on July 18, 2023
Emil Ruusuvuori, a promising name in the tennis world, was born in Helsinki, Finland, on April 2, 1999. Born in the Finnish capital with a population of just over 650,000 and access to the Baltic Sea, Emil hails from a family of five. His parents, Jari Laakkonen and Eva Ruusuvuori, also have a daughter, Aino, and another son, Ilia. Ruusuvuori’s early introduction to racket sports came at the age of five when he used to play badminton with his mother. Their play caught the eye of a tennis coach, Mika Muilu, who was impressed with Emil’s innate feel for the shuttlecock. Upon Muilu’s advice, Emil’s mother introduced him to tennis, a decision that would shape his future.
Ruusuvuori’s first competitive taste of tennis came when he was just 14, participating in ITF junior tournaments in the U-18 category. The young prodigy won his first category fifth tournament at just 15 years old, and by 17, he had made it to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. His impressive run continued at other major tournaments, culminating in a semi-final appearance at the US Open. Despite not winning any championship in the first or A category, his performance propelled him to the fourth spot in the world junior ranking.
This high ranking garnered the attention of sponsors, enabling him to compete in premier senior tournaments. Despite initial struggles, he entered the ATP rankings in August 2016 and managed to break into the top 700 by the end of the season, even after suffering an injury that led to several months of inactivity. His tenacity and talent also earned him regular appearances on the Finnish national team in the Davis Cup, further cementing his rising status in the tennis world.
The year 2019 marked a significant point in Emil’s career. He started the year by participating in ITF tournaments, quickly shifting his focus to Challengers by spring. He scored his first victory at the Challenger 80 in Fergana and went on to win in Augsburg, Germany, and Marbella, Spain. His impressive performance in 2019 brought him tantalizingly close to the top hundred in the world rankings.
Ruusuvuori’s career continued to blossom in 2020, starting the season strong with a finals appearance at the Challenger 125 in Canberra. He also made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open that year, reaching the second round of qualifying. Despite a pause in play due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Emil returned to the game with more determination, registering his first major win at the US Open against Slovenia’s Alyaz Bedene. By the end of the season, his excellent performances had secured him a spot in the top 90 of the world rankings. As we delve into his life, let’s explore more about the influence of his coach on his blossoming career.
Who Is Emil Ruusuvuori’s Current Coach?
Federico Ricci, an experienced tennis coach and mentor, is the man behind the rise of Emil Ruusuvuori in the world of professional tennis. With a significant background in sport, Ricci has had the privilege of working with some of the most respected figures and brands in tennis. Ricci’s coaching journey includes a tenure at the prestigious Evert Tennis Academy/IMG in Florida, followed by the establishment of the Jarkko Nieminen Tennis Academy (JNTA) upon his return to Europe. Currently, he leads the FRSTeam, essentially the evolution of JNTA focused on professional players.
Ricci’s impressive coaching record includes working with and developing six top-100 WTA/ATP players, three of whom have reached the top-50. His vast experience spans both men’s and women’s tours and notably includes transforming junior players into professional athletes. Ricci’s dedication and passion for tennis remain as strong as ever.
In addition to his professional pursuits, Ricci enjoys a fulfilling personal life. He and his wife have a young son, with whom he loves to play tennis and football. His Italian upbringing has instilled in him a deep appreciation for food and wine. Ricci also cherishes exploring different cultures, traveling through various countries whenever he gets the chance.
Ricci’s influence on Emil Ruusuvuori’s career has been significant. Ruusuvuori, who idolised Finnish tennis great Jarkko Nieminen, began training at the Helsinki academy that Nieminen and Ricci co-founded when he was just 13. Ricci has been Ruusuvuori’s coach for over ten years now.
Speaking of Ruusuvuori’s development, Ricci highlighted the mental adjustments he had to make. In an interview, he said, “They (Finns) are relaxed people, quite chilled. It takes time to build a mentality. Finland has not had many successful tennis players, so sometimes you have people around you who talk but don’t really know what they’re talking about.”
Ricci’s role in Ruusuvuori’s career extended beyond mental conditioning. He assisted him in transitioning from a successful junior player to the professional tour. This was a challenging phase, but Ruusuvuori hit his stride in the summer of 2019, winning four Challenger titles in five months.
Ricci also praised Ruusuvuori’s game, noting his strong forehand, a damaging serve, and overall baseline game. “He has very good timing. He likes to take the ball early, and he likes to control the point. His forehand and serve are his best shots, and his backhand is extremely solid,” Ricci said in an interview with Head.com. It’s clear that Federico Ricci’s coaching and guidance have been instrumental in shaping Ruusuvuori’s successful tennis career.
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Emil Ruusuvuori’s Achievements With Different Coaches
We have collected in the table the data about the trophies won by Emil Ruusuvuori under the guidance of various coaches.
|Years of Cooperation
|2014 – ongoing
|2019 Helsinki challenger
2019 Glasgow challenger
2019 Mallorca challenger
2019 Fergana challenger