Rafael Nadal throughout Day 4 of the 2019 French Open
Clive Mason | Getty Photos Sport | Getty Photos
Rafael Nadal pulled away to beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 within the French Open ultimate on Sunday for his 14th championship at Roland Garros and twenty second 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 lift his degree — 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 palms.
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’s two forward of rivals Roger Federer, who hasn’t performed in nearly a yr after a collection of knee operations, and Novak Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January as a result of he’s not 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 downside for years, Nadal has stated repeatedly in latest days that he can by no means ensure whether or not every match at Courtroom Philippe Chatrier may be his final.
Would not actually appear a lot cause to stop now, although, contemplating that he navigated his well beyond 4 French Open opponents ranked within the high 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 achieved already, Nadal now has executed one thing he by no means managed beforehand: He’s midway to a calendar-year Grand Slam due to titles on the Australian Open and French Open in the identical season.
Ruud is a 23-year-old from Norway who was taking part in a Grand Slam ultimate 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 skilled at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca.
They’ve performed numerous observe units collectively there with nothing extra at stake than bragging rights. Nadal normally gained these, and Ruud joked the opposite day that is as a result of he was attempting to be a well mannered visitor.
The 2 had by no means met in an actual match till Sunday, when a championship, cash, rating factors, status and a bit of historical past have been on the road. And Nadal demonstrated, as he has so typically, why he is often called the King of Clay — and among the many recreation’s best ever.
He can now place this newest Coupe des Mousquetaires alongside the trophies he gathered at Roland Garros from 2005-08, 2010-14 and 2017-20. He is additionally gained the U.S. Open 4 instances and the Australian Open and Wimbledon twice apiece.