Rafael Nadal claimed a record 14th French Open title, defeating Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.
The Spaniard dominated Sunday’s final as he won 11 consecutive matches in the second and third sets to win his 22nd Grand Slam title – twice over rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the men’s all-time lead.
The victory also means that 36-year-old Nadal, who won his first French Open title in 17 years, has become the oldest men’s singles champion at Roland Garros.
“For me personally, it is very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” Nadal said in his interview on the court after the match. “It’s something I definitely couldn’t believe I would be here at 36, being able to compete again, playing in the most important stadium of my career and playing another final – that means a lot to me.”
The case of Mr. v. Trainee at Roland Garros on Sunday was with Ruud, who has trained at the Rafael Nadal academy in Mallorca since 2018 and admired Nadal as he progressed through the tennis ranks, appearing in his first Grand Slam final.
But the 23-year-old was outdone by Nadal in what was the first time the two had faced each other.
Leading 3-1 at the start of the second set, Rudd saw the competition slip away and failed to score a game in the final set.
He later praised Nadal, saying in his on-court interview: “We all know what a hero you are and today I felt how you were going to play against you in the final. It’s not easy and I’m not the first victim – I know there’s been a lot before.”
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“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”