August 17, 2022
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2022 French Open men’s final: Rafael Nadal wins 14th title at Roland Garros, 22nd career Grand Slam

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In 2005, Rafael Nadal ascended to the top of the French Open mountain. Exactly 17 years later, the fashion style has changed, the haircut has changed and numerous injuries have been navigated, but he’s still right there on top of that mountain. The “King of Clay” lived up to his title once again, overwhelming Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to win his 14th career French Open title and 22nd career Grand Slam.

After a comfortable hold and a break to start, it looked like Nadal would cruise through the first round, but Ruud came back with a break of his own to get back on serve. Nadal, though, broke Ruud for a second time in two tries and did indeed cruise from there.

Nadal fell behind by a break early in the second set and would trail 3-1. Then, in a not-so-stunning turn of events, given his history at Roland Garros, Nadal would not lose another game.

He stormed back in dominant fashion in the second set, winning five consecutive games to win the set 6-3. Throughout the match, Nadal made Ruud pay for missing first serves, and that was especially evident in the second set, when Nadal won nine of 12 points off Ruud’s second serve. The set ended on Ruud’s first double-fault of the match.

The Spaniard was truly unrelenting in the third set, and Ruud was clearly worn down and out of answers, as so many have been before against Nadal at Roland Garros. The match mercifully ended on a blistering Nadal winner down the line, and Nadal put his head in his hands as the weight of yet another French Open title hit him. He’s now a mind-boggling 112-3 all-time at Roland Garros, and he’s never lost in a final.

“For me personally, [it’s] very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” Nadal said on Court Philippe-Chatrier after the match. “It’s something that I for sure never believed I’d be here at 36, being competitive again. … It means a lot to me.”

Ruud, playing in his first Grand Slam final, made sure to pay tribute to one of his idols.

“We all know what a champion you are, and today, I got to feel how it is to play against you in the final, and it’s not easy, and I’m not the first victim,” Ruud said. “I know that there have been many before.”

Nadal’s 14 French Open championships are eight more than the next-closest man, Bjorn Borg, in the Open Era. Nadal’s 22 Grand Slams – four US Opens, two Wimbledons and two Australian Opens to go along with the 14 French Opens – are also most ever by a man, two more than both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

At 19, Nadal was one of the youngest men to ever win the title at Roland Garros. Now at 36, he is the oldest, and he’s still setting the bar higher and higher. This is the first time in his career he’s won the first two Grand Slams of the calendar year — he won the Australian Open in January — and he’s done it all while dealing with a “chronic” foot injury.

With the next major, Wimbledon, just weeks away, Nadal acknowledged, “I don’t know what can happen in the future, but I’m gonna keep fighting to try to keep going so many times.”





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