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Rafael Nadal can extend his lead as the most decorated Grand Slam player in men’s tennis on Sunday afternoon but faces a tough challenge against first-time major finalist Casper Ruud in the French Open final. The Spaniard is a perennial champion at Roland Garros, winning 13 of his majors on the clay surface.
The 23-year-old Ruud will be a tricky opponent, though. The Norwegian has navigated tests against Marin Cilic, Hubert Hurkacz, Lorenzo Sonego, Emil Ruusuvuori and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga to reach the last-two.
Nadal will naturally be the huge favourite and is chasing a 22nd Grand Slam. A victory on Court Philippe-Chatrier would put him two ahead of rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
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Ruud gets French Open final vs ‘idol’ Nadal
World no 8 Ruud is delighted to earn a Grand Slam final against Nadal, who he has never played in a competitive ATP match.
The 23-year-old, who played at Nadal’s academy, said after beating Cilic in his semi-final: “He (Nadal) is the last player of the ‘Big Three’ and the very, very top players in the world I have never faced.
“I guess this is perfect timing and it was worth the wait. To finally play him in a Grand Slam final will be a special moment for me. Hopefully a little bit for him as well.
“He has played so many finals, but at least he’s playing a student from his academy this time. It’s going to be a fun one, hopefully.”
Nadal explains why he would want to lose the French Open final
Nadal has incredibly admitted that he would happily lose the French Open final against Ruud – but only if he gets a new foot.
The Spaniard has dealt with a foot injury since he was 19 but it has flared up more prominently later in his career.
Asked if he would sacrifice a Grand Slam for a new foot, the 36-year-old said: “Without a doubt, I’d prefer to lose the final. My opinion does not change. A new foot would allow me to be happier in my daily life.
“Winning is very nice and gives you an adrenaline rush, but it’s temporary and then you have to go on living.
“I have a life ahead of me and in the future I would love to play sports with my friends. My happiness goes ahead of any title.”
Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the French Open men’s singles final between Rafa Nadal and Casper Ruud.
A 13-times Roland Garros champion, Nadal will be the huge favourite to win on Court Philippe-Chatrier and extend his total grand slams to 22.
It will be a tough test against Ruud, though, who is playing in his first major final.
Follow for live updates from Express Sport.
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