After a year-long hiatus, the “King of Clay” reigns once more in Paris. Rafael Nadal claimed a record-extending 14th title at the French Open as he defeated Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0.
The Spaniard dominated the final on Sunday, winning 11 straight games in the second and third sets to claim his 22nd grand slam trophy, putting him two ahead of rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on the all-time list of men’s grand slam winners. With the triumph, Nadal, 36, became the oldest men’s singles champion at Roland Garros, having won his first French Open championship 17 years ago.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future”- Rafael Nadal
Casper Ruud, who has been training at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca since 2018 and admired Nadal as he was rising through the tennis ranks and reaching his maiden grand slam final, faced off against the maestro on Sunday at Roland Garros. But the 23-year-old was outclassed by Nadal in what was the first time the two had faced each other. Ruud saw the game slip away from him after taking a 3-1 lead in the second set and failing to register a game in the third set.
In his post-match winner’s speech, Rafael Nadal stated that he will “keep fighting” rather than retire from tennis. “For me personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” the 36-year-old said. “It’s something that I never believed to be here at 36; being competitive again, playing on the most important court of my career. It means [an awful] lot to me. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting. It takes a lot of energy to keep going. I want to say ‘merci, merci beaucoup’.”