Nadal tops Ruud for 14th French Open title, 22nd Slam trophy

 

PARIS — Rafael Nadal pulled away to beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 within the French Open closing on Sunday for his 14th championship at Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title general, including to 2 information he already owned.

Nadal’s victory got here two days after his thirty sixth birthday and made him the oldest title winner within the historical past of the clay-court event.

Ruud led 3-1 within the second set, a deficit that spurred Nadal to boost his stage — he took the final 11 video games.

Nadal performed so crisply and cleanly, accumulating greater than twice as many winners as Ruud, 37 to 16. Nadal additionally dedicated fewer unforced errors, making simply 16 to Ruud’s 26.

When it ended with a down-the-line backhand from Nadal, he chucked his racket to the purple clay he loves a lot and coated his face with the taped-up fingers on each of his fingers.

Rafael Nadal lifts the cup after defeating Norway’s Casper Ruud throughout their closing match of the French Open tennis event on the Roland Garros stadium on June 5, 2022, in Paris.Thibault Camus / AP

The Spaniard’s first triumph in Paris got here in 2005 at age 19. No man or lady ever has gained the singles trophy at any main occasion greater than his 14 in Paris. And no man has gained extra Grand Slam titles than Nadal.

He is 2 forward of rivals Roger Federer, who hasn’t performed in virtually a 12 months after a sequence of knee operations, and Novak Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January as a result of he isn’t vaccinated towards COVID-19 and misplaced to Nadal at Roland Garros.

Given his age, and, of extra concern, the continual ache in his left foot that has been an off-and-on drawback for years, Nadal has mentioned repeatedly in current days that he can by no means make certain whether or not every match at Court Philippe Chatrier is likely to be his final.

Doesn’t actually appear a lot motive to give up now, although, contemplating that he navigated his well past 4 French Open opponents ranked within the prime 10 (No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime within the fourth spherical, No. 1 Djokovic within the quarterfinals, No. 3 Alexander Zverev — who stopped due to a foot harm — within the semifinals, after which No. 8 Ruud).

Nadal improved to 14-0 in finals at Roland Garros and 112-3 general at his favourite event.

For all that he has completed already, Nadal now has accomplished one thing he by no means managed beforehand: He is midway to a calendar-year Grand Slam because of titles on the Australian Open and French Open in the identical season.

Ruud is a 23-year-old from Norway who was collaborating in a Grand Slam closing for the primary time. He’d by no means even performed in a serious quarterfinal till now.

He considers Nadal his idol. He remembers watching all of Nadal’s previous finals in Paris on TV. He has educated at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca.

They have performed numerous apply units collectively there with nothing extra at stake than bragging rights. Nadal normally gained these, and Ruud joked the opposite day that’s as a result of he was making an attempt to be a well mannered visitor.

The two had by no means met in an actual match till Sunday, when a championship, cash, rating factors, status and a chunk of historical past had been on the road. And Nadal demonstrated, as he has so typically, why he’s often called the King of Clay — and among the many recreation’s best ever.

He can now place this latest Coupe des Mousquetaires alongside the trophies he gathered at Roland Garros from 2005-08, 2010-14 and 2017-20. He’s additionally gained the U.S. Open 4 instances and the Australian Open and Wimbledon twice apiece.


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