Rafael Nadal, absolute master of clay, crowned for the 14th time

Rafael Nadal, absolute master of clay, crowned for the 14th time

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Opposed to the Norwegian Casper Ruud in the final of the Parisian Grand Slam, Sunday June 5, 2022, Rafael Nadal won in three sets (6-3, 6-3, 6-0). The Spaniard, despite his 36 years and his injuries, writes one more page of his legend with this 14th victory in Paris. His record now shows 22 Grand Slam titles, a new record.

It is a fatality, an evidence, a habit. So far, no one has managed to prevent Rafael Nadal from winning the final at Roland-Garros. Roger Federer (four times), Novak Djokovic (three times), Dominic Thiem (twice), Mariano Puerta, Robin Söderling, David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka have all failed. Casper Ruud was no more successful.

This is how it is impossible to triumph over Rafael Nadal in the final in Paris. The 23-year-old Norwegian laid down his arms, like the others, on Sunday June 5 in the final of this 2022 edition.

However, the world No. 8 had some reason to have some hope for his first Grand Slam final. His opponent has suffered from multiple ailments for years, including this Müller-Weiss syndrome which causes him chronic pain in his left foot and handicaps him a lot. The Spaniard, who has just celebrated his 36th candle, is no longer as untouchable as he was a few years ago.

Ruud reduced to helplessness

But Rafael Nadal is not the greatest tennis player of all time on clay, and one of the greatest altogether, for nothing. Despite this failing physique, he released two grandiose performances to successively eliminate Félix Auger-Aliassime, Novak Djokovic then Alexander Zverev – who had to retire through injury – in the previous three rounds. And in the final on Sunday on the Philippe-Chatrier court, the “Taureau de Manacor” quickly trampled the dreams of Casper Ruud.

Rafael Nadal in the final of the Roland-Garros tournament won against Casper Ruud, June 5, 2022.
Rafael Nadal in the final of the Roland-Garros tournament won against Casper Ruud, June 5, 2022. © Pierre René-Worms/RFI

The world No. 5 set the tone by immediately taking his opponent’s serve. The Norwegian’s reaction was only temporary. Rafael Nadal, still very supported by the public, resumed his march forward to pocket the first set (6-3). In the second set, a poor physical pass hinted at a more contested battle between the two men. It was just a mirage: the Majorcan set the record straight and flew away.

The loss of the second set in favor of the Spaniard (6-3) hurt Casper Ruud very badly. From then on, there was no longer a match between the boss of the place and the Norwegian. Rafael Nadal, imperial, folded the case in a flash (6-0) to sign a 14th coronation on Parisian clay.

There was a lot of emotion on the Ocher King’s face after the match point. Rafael Nadal never tires of shining in the French capital. But with all these injuries and this body in pain, who knows what the future holds? He himself has maintained doubts in recent days about a possible end to his career. The Spaniard will soon solve the mystery. In the meantime, he is settling a little higher in the heights of tennis with this 22nd Grand Slam victory, a record better than the 20 coronations of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.


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