Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud will lock horns in the French Open summit clash on Sunday. They will be facing each other in the history of the tournament for the first time.
There was a time when Casper Ruud cheered for Rafael Nadal from the stands during the 2013 French Open when the Spaniard won the title, defeating David Ferrer in the final (6–3, 6–2, 6–3). Fast forward to 2022, the world will cheer for them from the same stands as they both come face-to-face in the final.
Nadal is not just a competitor for Ruud as he has idolized him since a very young age.
He joined Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca at the age of 19 and he called it a "childhood dream turned into reality"
The 23-year-old Ruud who became the first Norwegian man to reach a Grand Slam final is all set to play a match against his mentor.
“He's the last player of the ‘Big Three’ and the very, very top players in the world I have never faced,” Ruud said during his on-court interview after the semifinal. I guess this is perfect timing and it was worth the wait. To finally play him in a Grand Slam final will be a special moment for me. Hopefully a little bit for him as well.
The match will be played on a clay court and the no.8 seed Ruud has won 65 matches, reached eight finals, and won seven titles on clay courts.
“On Sunday I will be the underdog, for sure, and Rafa will probably feel some of that pressure. So I will just try to enjoy the situation,” Ruud said.
“But I know that I will have to play even better than I did today if I want to have any chance at all, because he's the greatest clay-court player of all time, as we know, and one of the greatest all-around players, if you ask me, of all time."