Nadal Hammers Ruud For 22nd Grand Slam Title, 14th French Open Trophy
If the GOAT debate wasn’t over, it is now.
Today, Rafael Nadal destroyed Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to win his 22nd Grand Slam title and 14th French Open.
“For me personally, it is very difficult to describe the feelings that I have. It is something that I have never believed. To be here at 36, being competitive again on the most important court of my career,” Nadal said on court. “One more title means a lot. It means a lot of energy to try and keep going.
“I don’t know what can happen in the future but I am going to keep fighting to try and keep going.”
The guy is 36, walking on one foot and he’s still untouchable on the terre battue. That’s four Top 10 wins with a numb foot including Novak Djokovic.
Today, though, it was a scratchy opening by both players but to start the second, you could see Ruud settle down a bit. He started getting some range and depth on the forehand and find his serve.
I didn’t think Nadal played a good first set and then you saw Ruud bust ahead in the second 3-1, shades of his match against Marin Cilic. But just when it looked like Nadal would be in for a dogfight, Rafa went to another level and in jaw-dropping won the next 11 games to take the match.
It was an astonishing one-hour run to close out the 23-year-old Ruud who clearly was in awe of moment. And by the end, all Casper could do himself was gaze in wonder at his idol.
“It’s your 14th time here, 22nd all round in Grand Slams, we all know what a champion you are,” Ruud said on the court.
“Today I got to feel how it is to play you in a final. It’s not easy. I’m not the first victim, I know there have been many before,” he said. “You are a true inspiration for me, for everyone who follows tennis around the world. We all hope you continue for some more time.
“I said before the match that I guess it is, but now I think I know it is,” Ruud added later. “So at least what I have faced, it’s really challenging and really tough. His numbers speak for themselves. He has never lost a final here, and there is a reason why.”
Ruud did himself proud during the week and hopefully the scar tissue from this loss won’t damage or derail his ascent. For the moment, he becomes another victim of the Big 3.
“It was the first time I have experienced in this situation and play a Grand Slam final. I don’t think it really got to me until I stepped on court today and saw the full stadium and felt the atmosphere in the crowd,” Ruud said.
“It was a little bit, honestly, a bit tough to find myself too comfortable in the situation in the beginning. As the match went on, I tended to feel a little bit better and I could calm down and breathe out a little bit more.
“But it was challenging because you are playing him, the most winning-slam player ever and on this court in the final,” he went on. “It’s not too easy.”
Nadal’s feats keep piling up. He’s now the oldest to ever with at Roland Garros. He’s now won the French and the Australian in the same year for the first time, and is 14-0 in Slams in 2022 and a perfect 14-0 in the French Open final. And who knows what’s next.
“It’s not about being the best of the history. It’s not about the records. It’s about I like what I do. I like to play tennis. And I like the competition,” Nadal said.
“As I said couple of times in the past and is not a thing that I repeat, is not the thing that I don’t feel for me, we achieved our dreams. Me, Roger, Novak, we achieved things that probably we never expected.
“For me, what drives me to keep going is not about the competition to try to be the best or to win more Grand Slams than the others.
“What drives me to keep going is the passion for the game, live moments that stay inside me forever, and play in front of the best crowds in the world and the best stadiums.
“That drives me, no? And the passion for what I do. Then of course if I don’t feel myself competitive, I don’t enjoy. So that’s it. But is not about the goal about winning more titles. It’s about a goal to give myself a chance to keep doing what I like to do.”
This from a guy who contemplated retirement last winter. Now he’s in position for a Calendar Slam if his foot and body allow. I guess that’s the only thing that can stop him.
You Might Like:
Rublev Rocks Ruud For 14th Career Title, Wins Bastad
Casper Ruud: I Can’t Expect To Make 2 Grand Slam Finals Every Year
Nadal Looks For Grand Slam Title No. 22, Ruud His First In The French Open Final Today
Nadal Advances To 14th French Open Final After Zverev Ankle Turn, Will Face Ruud
Alcaraz Ascends To No. 1, Wins US Open Title Over Ruud