Rafael Nadal downed Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the final of the 2022 French Open for his 14th Roland Garros title. Despite this being their first ever match, the clash drew a sizeable interest due to Ruud being a part of the Rafa Nadal Academy.
The first-time Slam finalist was full of admiration and praise for Nadal before and after the championship match and has spoken of his adulation for the Spaniard on many occasions.
Speaking on a recent podcast, sports journalist Steve Flink said Ruud should learn from Nadal about being a professional and not letting the admiration of someone come in the way of his goal.
"You can't let your respect and admiration for Rafa, your practice sessions at his academy, and the fact that Rafa is such a revered sportsman and such a great guy get in your way. Look at Rafa. He's ruthless on the court. He's extremely likable and so humble but when he's out there, there's absolutely no nonsense and that's really what Ruud needs to learn from him," Flink said.
Flink revealed his disbelief as he expected Ruud to compete better. According to the journalist, the 23-year-old put himself under huge pressure by saying that he needed to play his best match against Rafael Nadal.
"I wouldn't have expected 11 games in a row. I think Ruud could have done a little better than that. He sort of gave it away before the match when he said he had to play his best match and that he had to play better than he has ever played before. He put a lot of pressure on himsel. Nadal had to have a very bad day to lose that match, said Flink.
After winning 22nd Grand Slam, Rafael Nadal undergoes treatment for foot injury
With his win at Roland Garros this year, Rafael Nadal has extended his Grand Slam title lead over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The 22-time Slam champion is currently undergoing treatment on his foot to be able to participate in Wimbledon.
The treatment, a radio frequency ablation on his foot, will numb sensations and pain from the nerves semi-permanently. This will help the Spaniard deal with the pain and allow him to compete for the short to medium term.
Nadal's doctor, Angel Ruiz Cotorro, gave additional context to the Spaniard's time frame for recovery and a return to practice. Cotorro said that if the treatment is successful, Nadal will begin practice in four days and return to play at Wimbledon on June 27.