Rafael Nadal beat Casper Ruud in straight sets to win his 14th French Open title and 22nd Grand Slam trophy on Sunday. In doing so, he extended his lead in the men’s all-time grand slam title race, surpassing Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer who both are on 20.
Nadal is known as the “King of Clay” because he has dominated clay courts and won so many titles on the clay surface. On Sunday afternoon, the King of Clay completed his latest epic triumph at Roland-Garros by putting on an absolute masterclass to defeat Casper Ruud in straight sets, 6-3 6-3 6-0. Nadal has won 82 consecutive matches on clay, the most of any player in the Open era.
The men’s final at the French Open on Sunday included an age-old debate, but Rafael Nadal easily defeated Casper Ruud of Norway to claim the trophy. Nadal now has a total of 22 Grand Slam singles titles, putting him two ahead of his great tennis rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the standings.
This wasn’t one of Nadal’s more memorable performances in Paris, but it was one of his most quietly imposing on the Chatrier stage. He demonstrated his grasp of the chess-match component of clay-court tennis once more. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the GOAT discussion, it’s that Nadal is clearly ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
After the match, Nadal revealed that he had to have an injection in his ailing left foot simply to participate. Due to a long-standing foot issue, he had previously expressed reservations about competing in the claycourt Major.
This week at Roland Garros,
Nadal overcame a difficult challenge, including a thrilling quarter-final victory over Novak Djokovic. Throughout the competition, Nadal has been dealing with an injury to his foot. On Court Philippe-Chatrier against Casper Ruud, though, he showed no symptoms of such hindering his talent. The Norwegian was unable to challenge Nadal, who demonstrated why he is known as the ‘king of clay.’ Nadal won the French Open for the 14th time in slightly under two and a half hours.
Ruud is also at his best on clay, having won four of his five titles on the surface, which helped him climb into the top 10 in the world. But Nadal appeared ready for more tennis against Ruud as the match went on, enhancing his speed and precision.
Nadal struggled early on and was off his game at times, losing his serve in the third game due to two double faults and an out-of-rhythm forehand unforced error into the centre of the net. Ruud, on the other hand, was trying to find his footing, looking jittery and constrained on critical points in the first set and then being outplayed on pivotal points in the second.
As he came out into Court Philippe-Chatrier, the iconic Spaniard received a standing ovation he will certainly never forget. That’s what we’re crossing our fingers and toes for because it’s a privilege to see one of our sport’s greatest champions play like that.