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French Open 2022 | Rafael Nadal aims to be oldest champion against pupil Casper Ruud

Victory will ship a record-extending twenty second main and 14th French Open for Rafael Nadal.

Victory will ship a record-extending twenty second main and 14th French Open for Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal will turn into the oldest man to win the French Open title if he defeats Casper Ruud, the Norwegian whose clay courtroom abilities he has personally helped foster.

Nadal will be enjoying in his 14th Roland Garros ultimate on Sunday and thirtieth total on the Grand Slams.

Victory will ship a record-extending twenty second main and 14th French Open, 17 years after his title successful debut in Paris.

The 36-year-od Nadal is, nonetheless, as stunned as anybody to have gotten this far.

A persistent left foot damage which has plagued him all through his profession flared up once more in Rome final month, placing a severe query mark over even making it to the French capital.

“Without a doubt, I’d prefer to lose the final and have a new foot,” admitted Nadal who has not hidden the brutal actuality that each match he performs at Roland Garros might be his final.

Despite his fears, Nadal has impressively battled his manner into Sunday’s championship match.

He wanted 5 units and greater than 4 hours to see off Felix Auger-Aliassime within the final 16 and one other 4 hours to get previous Novak Djokovic within the quarter-finals.

Alexander Zverev then pushed him all the way in which for 3 hours within the semi-finals till a sickening ankle damage pressured the German world quantity three to stop on crutches.

Despite the German’s daring all-or-nothing problem, Nadal nonetheless reduce a formidable presence on courtroom, at one level popping out on high in a lung-busting 44-shot rally.

His document on the French Open now stands at 111 wins and simply three losses. Djokovic was chargeable for two of these defeats.

Nadal was solely 19 when he gained his first French Open in 2005.

‘The greatest’

Victory on Sunday will make him the event’s oldest champion, eclipsing 34-year-old compatriot Andres Gimeno who took the title 50 years in the past.

World quantity eight Ruud, 23, is the tour’s in-form clay courtroom participant.

Not solely have seven of his eight profession titles come on clay, however he has gained 66 matches on the floor since 2020 and performed in 9 finals.

Ruud is the primary Norwegian to attain a Grand Slam ultimate.

Robin Soderling, a fellow Scandinavian, is the one different man other than Djokovic to have defeated Nadal in Paris again in 2009.

Ruud has been coaching at Nadal’s academy in Manacor since 2018 alongside his father Christian, a former high 40 participant, and Spaniard Pedro Clar.

Nadal and Ruud have by no means met professionally however they’re typically hitting companions in Spain the place the Norwegian admits “he has beaten me pretty much all the times in practice”.

“Casper has a very good character to play tennis. He’s very relaxed, humble. He’s always in a positive mood about learning,” mentioned Nadal.

“I think in the academy we were able to help him a little bit during this period of time.”

Ruud was simply six years outdated when Nadal was first topped French Open champion and describes the Spaniard as his “idol”.

“I could probably tell you all the finals and who he has played and who he has beaten, because I watched them all on TV,” mentioned the Norwegian.

“He’s the greatest clay court player of all time and one of the greatest all-around players.”

Victory for Nadal will give him the Australian Open-French Open double in the identical 12 months for the primary time.

That would additionally put him midway to a calendar Grand Slam, achieved solely thrice in historical past, the final of which was by Rod Laver in 1969.

“I fought, I have done all the things possible to give myself another chance to play in the final of Roland Garros,” mentioned Nadal.

“All the sacrifices and all the things that I need to go through to try to keep playing, really makes sense when you enjoy moments like I’m enjoying in this tournament.”

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