Rafa Nadal seals fantastic 14th French Open title at Roland Garros

Jamie Shaw in French Open 05 Jun 2022
Nadal clutches the trophy (Credit Image: © Matthieu Mirville/ZUMA Press Wire)

Rafael Nadal continued his incredible dominance at Roland Garros by landing a 14th French Open title at the expense of Casper Ruud on Sunday.

Nadal followed up January’s Australian Open triumph by making it back-to-back Grand Slams to take his overall tally to 22 – two clear of rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Two days after his 36th birthday, Nadal affirmed his position as ‘the king of clay’ by maintaining his unbeaten record in French Open finals and crushing Ruud’s hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title.

Nadal dominated the final from the outset, overpowering his young opponent to clinch a straight sets victory in two hours and 18 minutes.

“It’s amazing the things that are happening this year,” said Nadal on court.

“For me personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have.

“It’s something that I never believed to be here at 36 – being competitive again, playing on the most important court of my career. It means [an awful] lot to me.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting!”

Nadal settled quickly into the final on his beloved Court Philippe-Chatrier, racing into a 4-1 lead before eventually serving out the first set 6-3.

Ruud, the first Norwegian ever to reach a Grand Slam men’s single final, dug deep in the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, but only for Nadal to break and reel off five consecutive games to double his advantage.

Ruud seemingly failed to recover from that body blow and was a mere spectator for much of a rapid third set as Nadal rattled off a further six unanswered games to ruthlessly clinch the crown.

Nadal becomes the oldest French Open men’s singles champion and surpasses fellow Spaniard Andres Gimeno – who triumphed aged 34 back in 1972.

He has claimed back-to-back major titles for the first time since 2010 and now has the opportunity to challenge for a first seasonal Grand Slam, with Wimbledon and the US Open still to come.

A chronic foot problem threatened to spell the end of Nadal’s glittering career during the back end of last season, while a stress fracture of the rib caused him to miss two months of action shortly after winning the Australian Open.

However, the legendary Spaniard looks set to continue his quest for further silverware in the coming months and continues to defy the sands of time.

Ruud had beaten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Emil Ruusuvuori, Lorenzo Sonego, Hubert Hurkacz, Holger Rune and Marin Cilic en route to his first major final but was denied glory by his idol, whom he watched from the stands here in 2013.

The 23-year-old will climb to a career-high world number six on Monday and has announced his arrival as a key contender for Grand Slams in the years to come.

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