After his 14th French Open triumph, Rafael Nadal dropped his racket in complete disbelief and looked at his team in the stands. Two days after his 36th birthday, the Spanish clay court king won the final in Paris on Sunday against the Norwegian Casper Ruud 6: 3, 6: 3, 6: 0 and thus celebrated the 22nd Grand Slam title of his impressive tennis -Career. It remains to be seen how many more will come in view of his chronic foot problems.
In mid-May, after his knockout round at the tournament in Rome, Nadal himself questioned participation in Paris. The pain was too strong. However, thanks to the daily care of a personal doctor in the French capital, Nadal got himself back into very good shape. How long he wants to and can do this is uncertain. “I don’t know what the future will bring, but I will keep fighting,” said Nadal after the victory in Paris.
Immediately after the next triumph in his tennis living room at the Stade Roland Garros, Nadal’s pure joy prevailed. After he converted his second match point after 2:18 hours, the spectators celebrated him with long ovations.
As soon as Nadal entered the Court Philippe Chatrier shortly after 3 p.m., the spectators rose from their seats and received their darling with deafening applause. Before the game, rumors had circulated that it could be the Spaniard’s last match of his glorious career. It seemed like everyone in Paris wanted to try and stop Nadal from the unconfirmed plans with their affection. The obligatory presentation of Nadal by the cult stadium announcer Marc Maury lasted even longer than usual this time, repeatedly interrupted by the applause of the audience.
Nadal started well in front of the Spanish King Felipe and the Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon and immediately took the serve from the Norwegian. Although Ruud, who has been training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca for four years, also managed a break afterwards, but Nadal countered with another break that he did not give up afterwards. After 48 minutes he got the first set.
The mood in the stadium before the game was sizzling, but the final was unspectacular. Ruud was nervous and made a lot of slight mistakes, Nadal was also far from his best form, but still dominated the action on his favorite pitch with ease.
In the semifinals against Alexander Zverev, Nadal was challenged much more until the German Olympic champion had to give up injured. With multiple ligament tears, Zverev will be out for a long time. How long is to be determined by further investigations this Monday in Germany.
In the second set, Ruud initially improved, but the overall level was now a little better. But it was still far removed from other Nadal finals in Paris. The Mallorquin initially fell behind by a break, but Ruud was unable to use the momentum. On the contrary: Nadal played five games in a row and took a 2-0 lead after 1:42 hours.