The tennis world has gone crazy over a resurfaced photo of French Open finalist Casper Ruud following his heartbreaking defeat to Rafa Nadal in the final.
Nadal won his 14th French Open title after dispatching Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the final, claiming the 22nd major of his storied career.
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In doing so he extended his lead in the men's all-time grand slam race, moving two ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on 20.
The match was heartbreaking for Ruud who participated in his first grand slam final, but had no answers against the imperious Spaniard.
Ruud was a huge fan of Nadal growing up and even trained in Nadal's academy as a junior.
And in a brilliant throwback, social media was alight with an old photo of Ruud in 2013 watching Nadal against David Ferrer in the Roland Garros final.
Ruud before the final admitted that Nadal was his idol growing up and it was a dream to play him the French Open final.
While Nadal has achieved a remarkable 14 French Open titles, the moment of Ruud standing next to one of his idols in the final sent the tennis world into a frenzy.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 5, 2022
— Not Rafael Nadal 🇫🇷 (@RaphaelDabadie) June 4, 2022
2013 - Casper Ruud watches Rafa Nadal win his 8th Roland-Garros title from the stands
2022 - Casper Ruud stands between Rafa Nadal and his 14th Roland-Garros title pic.twitter.com/e0TzHuw0q3
— Bastien Fachan (@BastienFachan) June 5, 2022
— M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) June 5, 2022
Ruud took his loss with class, despite the disappointment, and congratulated the 36-year-old Spaniard with a warm embrace at the net.
The Norwegian admitted he was 'eaten alive' in the final and didn't have the answers to make a comeback during the final.
The replay shows Casper Ruud saying "Happy for you" as he approached Nadal at the net.
I'd have been asking for a refund, personally. pic.twitter.com/PokCoh8ysy
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) June 5, 2022
Rafa Nadal shoots down retirement fears
Plenty of the talk leading up to the men's final was around Nadal and fears that the champion could be retiring in the near future.
But, the 22-time grand slam champion vowed to 'keep fighting' and play at Wimbledon later this month, but admitted he has some very difficult decisions to make regarding his troublesome foot.
“It’s amazing the things that are happening this year,” Nadal said during the trophy presentation after winning the first two grand slams of the year for the first time.
“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 became the oldest champion in the history of the French Open, 17 years after winning his first title at Roland Garros as a 17-year-old.
He improved to 14-0 in finals at Roland Garros and improved his astonishing record at the clay-court grand slam to 112-3.
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