Casper Ruud grew up watching Rafael Nadal win each of his French Open titles. On Sunday, the Norwegian secured the best seat in the house to see the Spaniard clinch a 14th French Open title – just through the net against the Spaniard on the Philippe Chatrier court.
Ruud went down to Nadal in the final in straight sets and although he admitted he would have liked to have played a closer game, Ruud said he would appreciate his efforts in the fortnight for a long time and would probably speak to his grandchildren one day.
“This match will be something that I will probably remember for the rest of my career. I think there are certain moments in everyone’s career that you will remember more than others, so this one will be at the top of my list, the greatest game I’ve ever played. Like I’ve said many times before, he’s a player I’ve watched on TV for the last 16, 17 years. So to be there myself and facing him is also a bit of a challenge but very enjoyable,” Ruud said.
“Of course, I wish I could bring the game closer and all those things, but at the end of the day, I hope to be able to tell my grandchildren one day that I played Rafa Nadal on Chatrier in the final, and they people will probably say, Wow, have you? I’ll say Yes. I’ll probably enjoy this moment for a long time.
“At the end of the day I was the better player in the second half of the draw and took care of my chances” – Casper Ruud
Casper Ruud, 23, is now world number 6 and says the fortnight has taught him to make the most of the opportunities that come his way, with most heavyweights including Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz. being in the other half of the draw.
“I think what I can say is I was able to do well in those two weeks, it was kind of taking care of the chances I had and seeing the opportunity. Because when the draw was done, everyone was talking about the top end of the draw and the kind of second half opener that could be compared to the big names that were on the draw . Rafa, of course, Novak, Zverev and Alcaraz were all placed at the top,” he said.
“In the other game, there was no one who had won here obviously I think. I kind of realized early on that it was a good chance to maybe go far if I played well and “There could be chances for me. I was able to manage those chances. Like every best-of-five-set match, I didn’t play my best tennis at every point in the tournament, but I was able to win the most important and realizing that best-of-five sets matches can be very long, can be like a marathon. And in the end, I was the best player in the second half of the draw and I took care of my chances So that’s something that I think I’m going to learn, take with me from that experience, and also realizing that I was able to keep my body okay, not too much pain or injury those two weeks and play games long enough. So that’s also a good sign for me. Sometimes in Grand Slam tournaments, I felt like I didn’t not having recovered too well on rest days. So on days off I was able to take better care of them and feel fit all week,” added Casper Ruud.
Ruud also revealed the two things that left a major imprint on his mind during the final – the first being Nadal’s game-winning shot at match point and the other being receiving the trophy from tennis legend Billie Jean King. .
“I think the match points are always the most memorable, and he finished the game in style with a winner down the line. And seeing the ball fall over the line is what I remember the most for. the moment. And of course getting into the court. Something that’s kind of funny when he’s playing, when the announcer does the intro and he goes and of course tells about all the times he’s won the tournament, It never ends it seems. It takes about half a minute just to say all the years. I think that’s something I’ll remember too. It was also a special moment to get together. Seeing the trophy presented by Billie Jean King, she’s a legend of the sport. It was nice to meet her. I’ve never met her. So to do it there on the podium, or in the stands, it’s was a nice feeling, or a good experience.