Nadal Looks For Grand Slam Title No. 22, Ruud His First In The French Open Final Today
Rafael Nadal will look to win his 22nd career Grand Slam today on his favorite court in the world at the French Open.
Across the net will be first-time Slam finalist Casper Ruud who is the first man from Norway ever make it even past the fourth round at this level.
The two are good friends, past practice partners at the Rafael Nadal Academy and sometimes gold buddies. But today, they will meet for the first time on the pro circuit and do so on the biggest court in the world, Philippe Chatrier, and on the biggest stage on the clay.
Nadal is a perfect 13-0 once he makes the French Open final beating all that have stood in his way. The Spaniard, who just celebrated his 36 birthday on Friday, will try to become the oldest champion at this event in the Open Era.
Ruud, 23, can become the youngest champion since Nadal won his first 17 years ago in 2005 at the age of 17.
“To play Rafa in a Roland Garros final is probably the greatest challenge there is in this sport,” Ruud said Friday. “I believe he’s 13-0 in the finals, so just shows that it might sound like an impossible task. But of course I will give it a shot like the other 13 people before me have done.
“It’s obviously going to be tough. We all know what a great champion he is and how well he plays in the biggest moments and the biggest matches.
“I’m just going to try to enjoy it. I will be the underdog, and I will try to, you know, tonight and tomorrow night dream about great winners and unbelievable rallies, because that’s what it’s going to take if I want to have any chance, and I will need to play my best tennis ever.
“But I still have to believe that I can do it, and I think part of my game today was working very well. In the end, I was playing great in the third and fourth set.”
Nadal is in his first clay final in over a year. So far, the foot has ben fine this week.
“I have a huge respect for him. First of all in terms of a friend, he has a great character,” said Nadal. “He’s a great guy, and he has a great family. Honestly, no? That’s the main thing. As a player, of course, I respect a lot him. He did a lot of great things the last couple of years. He’s the number, which number, 8? 7 in the world?
“He’s very relaxed, humble. He’s always in a positive mood about learning,” he added.
“I think in the academy we were able to help him a little bit during this period of time, but more than another thing is about, as I always say, I like to see the good persons achieving his dreams. I think Casper, I’m happy for him, as I said before, I’m happy for his mom, dad. I know them very well. They are a super-healthy family and great people. As always, I am super happy when I see these great people having success.
“So for me, is not a big surprise. I mean, Casper is one of the candidates about winning in every clay court event that he’s playing. He’s one of the clear favorites, no? Yeah, I mean, he’s not a big surprise at all.”
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