It’s master against apprentice for the title at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud may face off for the first time in Sunday’s league game in Paris, but that doesn’t mean the duo don’t know a thing or two about each other.
Eighth seed Ruud has been training at the Spanish academy in Mallorca since September 2018, and that bond gives Nadal a very positive feeling as he aims for a 14th Roland Garros crown and a club-record 22nd title. Grand Slam at 3 p.m. local time (CEST).
“I think at the academy we were able to help him a bit during that time,” the Spaniard said after booking his place in Sunday’s final at the clay major. “But more than [anything]as I always say, I like to see [a] good person achieving his dreams.
” I’m happy for him. I’m happy for his mom, dad. I know them very well. They are a super healthy family and great people. As always, I’m super happy when I see these great people succeed. »
For Ruud, taking on his childhood idol for the first time would be an exciting challenge in any setting, but the Norwegian admitted it was a fitting climax to his dream race this fortnight in Paris.
“It’s amazing… He’s the last player in the Big 3 and the best players in the world I’ve ever played against,” Ruud de Nadal said after beating Marin Cilic on Friday to book his place in a first major final. . “So I guess it’s the perfect moment and worth the wait. To finally face him in a Grand Slam final will be a special moment for me. Hopefully a little for him too.
“He’s played so many finals, but at least he’s playing a student from his academy this time around. So it’s going to be fun, hopefully.”
With Nadal chasing a record 14th title in Paris and Ruud in search of a first Grand Slam crown, ATPTour.com takes a look at some key elements of Sunday’s league game.
See the schedule | See the singles draw
Casper Ruud” />
Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
 Rafael Nadal (ESP) against.  Casper Ruud (NOR)
Nadal has long been anointed one of the greatest players of all time, but the 36-year-old’s thirst for further Grand Slam success has burned hotter than ever this fortnight in Paris. Instead, the Spaniard’s main concern upon arriving in the French capital was how his body would hold up after battling a chronic foot injury in the loss to Denis Shapovalov in Rome just over a year ago. three weeks.
This did not prevent him from going through grueling battles before qualifying for a 14th final at Roland Garros. After starting with routine wins over Jordan Thompson, Corentin Moutet and Botic van de Zandschulp, Nadal edged out a five-set thriller with Felix Auger-Aliassime before winning the classic quarter-final against Novak Djokovic. The three hours on the pitch before his opponent Alexander Zverev retired in the semi-finals brings Nadal’s time on the pitch in his last three matches to 11 hours and 46 minutes, but the heavy workload is not nothing new for the Spaniard.
“Physically I’m fine,” Nadal said in his press conference after the game against Zverev. “Normally my problem is not physical performance… Of course today the conditions were very hot, super humid. I know from experience that when these conditions occur I suffer a little more in terms of [physicality].”
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If Nadal can maintain his unbeaten record in Roland Garros league matches against Ruud, the 36-year-old will overtake fellow Spaniard Andres Gimeno as the oldest Roland Garros men’s singles champion in history.
The oldest men’s singles champions at Roland Garros:
After clinching a record 21st major title at the Australian Open in January, Nadal can snuff out two Grand Slam crowns from Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer with a win on Sunday. The Serb and the Swiss are tied on 20 major trophies. Success for Nadal would also represent the first time he has completed the Australian Open-Roland Garros double in a calendar year.
If he wins, Nadal will equal current Tour leader Carlos Alcaraz’s four titles for 2022, having won trophies in Melbourne and Acapulco alongside his triumph at the Australian Open. A 111-3 win-loss record at Roland Garros certainly suggests the Spaniard will be hard to stop as he looks to make even more history in Paris.
Unlike Nadal’s familiarity with the Philippe Chatrier court for a Roland Garros final, Ruud was in uncharted territory from his quarter-final clash with Holger Rune. The Norwegian hadn’t made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam until this fortnight in Paris, but there were few signs of nervousness from the 23-year-old as he recovered from a set to oust Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.
Although Ruud’s longest match of the tournament was his first victory of three hours and 49 minutes over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Norwegian spent 18 hours and two minutes on court in Paris, six minutes less than Nadal in total. After beating Tsonga in four sets, the 23-year-old beat Emil Ruusuvuori, Lorenzo Sonego, Hubert Hurkacz, Rune and Cilic to become the first Norwegian to reach a Grand Slam final.
Casper Ruud” />
Photo credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Ruud can look to promising numbers as he bids to become the first man to beat Nadal in a Roland Garros final. The world No. 8 has fired 52 aces in the tournament so far compared to Nadal’s just 13, also hitting more winners (259-204) and fewer unforced errors (138-166) than his opponent. Ruud’s forehand in particular has become one of the most formidable weapons on the Tour, and the Norwegian will need it to fire if he wants to breach Nadal’s defence.
|Rafael Nadal||Roland-Garros 2022 statistics||Casper Ruud|
|74 out of 92 (80%)||Service games won||102 out of 115 (89%)|
|66%||% 1st serve||68%|
|69%||1st serve points earned||74%|
|60%||2nd serve points won||61%|
|20 out of 38 (53%)||Saved breakpoints||22 out of 35 (63%)|
|198 km/h||Fastest serving speed||210 km/h|
|181 km/h||Avg. First serve speed||186 km/h|
|153.7 km/h||Avg. 2nd serve speed||154.3 km/h|
|40%||1st serve return points earned||30%|
|59%||2nd serve return points won||58%|
|38 out of 85 (45%)||Converted breakpoints||29 of 76 (38%)|
|114 out of 162 (70%)||Net points earned||99 of 149 (66%)|
|362 out of 669 (54%)||Rallies won (4 hits or less)||513 out of 927 (55%)|
|194 out of 335 (58%)||Rallies won (5-8 hits)||174 out of 330 (53%)|
|112 out of 202 (55%)||Rallies won (9 or more hits)||91 out of 170 (54%)|
|+38||Win/unforced error ratio||+121|
Statistics provided by Infosys
Regardless of the outcome, Ruud will reach a career-high sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday. He has already clinched titles in Buenos Aires and Geneva this season and also reached a first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami in March.
If he can find a way past Nadal, it would be the crowning achievement of three successful seasons on clay for Ruud. The Norwegian has won 66 games on the surface since 2020, 15 more than anyone on the Tour.
Most ATP Tour match wins on clay, 2020-22:
Ruud’s strong performances have earned him seven tour-level titles on clay, but he is yet to win a trophy above the ATP 250 level. Yet even taking into account Nadal’s unmatched record on the surface, the Spaniard will be wary of Ruud. “For me, [it] isn’t a big surprise,” Nadal said when asked about the eight-time titlist’s run at the Paris tour. “Casper is one of the candidates [for] win in every clay-court event he competes in. [It’s] not a big surprise at all.”
Did you know?
Nadal and Ruud’s clash will be the first Grand Slam final with the first meeting since the 2008 Australian Open championship match between Djokovic and Tsonga.