He’s done it (again).
Rafael Nadal has extended his record in French Open finals to an incredible 14-0 after a commanding 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over young Norwegian Casper Ruud last night, winning his 22nd Grand Slam in the process to increase his lead over fellow tennis icons Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to two.
Despite Ruud jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, Nadal’s dominance from deep in the court saw him create numerous winner opportunities (37 to 16), and after levelling up at 3-3 five minutes later he wouldn’t lose another game for the rest of the match.
Nadal won his first major as a skinny 19-year-old at Roland Garros in 2005, and at 36 is now the oldest winner at the event to illustrate his longevity.
“For me personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” the Spaniard said at the post-match presentation.
“It’s something that I never believed [in] to be here at 36 – being competitive, 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.”
The current world no. 4 improved his career record at the clay slam to 112-3, and said he has no plans on slowing down in the immediate future.
👏 What a show, Rafa! 👏 pic.twitter.com/aOVul9TPxG
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 5, 2022
He won his second Australian Open earlier this year and is now gearing up for Wimbledon.
“Wimbledon is not a tournament I want to miss, it’s not a tournament anyone wants to miss,” he said.
“I love Wimbledon, I’ve had a lot of success there.
“A player like me, I’m always ready to play Wimbledon.”
Ruud was gracious in defeat, praising his “idol” Nadal and explaining he was thrilled just to make the final.
“You are a true inspiration to me, for everyone who follows tennis around the world,” the 23-year-old said.
“So I hope – we all hope – that you will continue for some more time.
“We all know what a champion you are, and today I got to feel how it is to play against you in a final; and it’s not easy.
“I’m not the first victim, I know that there have been many before.”