Rafael Nadal with Casper Ruud after the final of the French Open 2022.© AFP
Norwegian Casper Ruud saw firsthand on Sunday what it’s like to meet his “idol” Rafael Nadal, and that too on the biggest possible stage – the final of the French Open. Nadal drove past the youngster in straight sets in the final of the 2022 French Open to raise his record extending the 22nd Grand Slam title. Ruud, who has trained at Spain’s ace’s Academy, praised Nadal as a “true champion”, but also made a hilarious comment that left the crowd at Court Philippe-Chatrier in limbo.
“You are a true champion. This is my first time facing you, so now I know what it’s like to be a victim!” said Ruud after the game, with applause and laughter.
“There will be many more,” he continued.
“You took me into your academy with open arms and you are a real inspiration to me. We all hope you continue for a while,” Ruud told the 36-year-old.
In the final, Nadal won 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in an impressive display that showed why he is called the ‘King of Clay’.
It was Nadal’s 14th French Open title and he also became the oldest man to win the Roland Garros crown.
His two hours and 18 minutes win on Sunday lifted his record at the tournament to 112 wins against just three losses and also brought him halfway to a rare men’s Grand Slam calendar last achieved by Rod Laver in 1969.
Nadal has won the last 11 games of the final and is now two Slams ahead of longtime rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, with Sunday’s win against all odds.
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