Rafael Nadal, simply put, is the best men’s tennis player of all time. His latest win at the 2022 French Open only reaffirms his greatness – as does the classy way he handled his victory.
The Spanish champ beat Norway’s Casper Ruud in the final of Roland-Garros in straight sets, securing his 22nd Grand Slam men’s singles title (the most in history) and a record 14th French Open title. Nadal is often called ‘The King of Clay’ and has always been very dominant at Roland-Garros, so this wasn’t a huge surprise.
But it was heartwarming to see how gracious in victory Nadal was with Ruud. Immediately after the winning point, Nadal gave Ruud a warm embrace and spoke glowingly of the 23-year-old Norwegian player during his victory speech.
“Casper, it’s a real pleasure to play with you a final here in Roland Garros. You are great. I want to congratulate you for an amazing career you are having. Especially these two weeks, I think it is a very important step forward. I am very, very happy for you and your family and your team. I wish you all the very best for the future.”Rafael Nadal
This would have meant the world to Ruud, who has long called Nadal his idol. For his part, Ruud was also very gracious in defeat. Indeed, he mostly just looked rapt to be playing a final against Nadal.
Like his idol Nadal, Ruud has cultivated a relationship among his fellow players as being a kind, respectful yet impressive player. Guess he’s not so Ruud after all.
For example, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime (who made it to the 4th round of the French Open before going down against Nadal himself) has said “Casper is a great person. He’s always handled himself with a lot of respect and integrity. As a player, he’s fierce and built a style of play that’s very consistent. He deserves where he is now. I have a ton of respect for the work he’s done,” Tennis.com shares.
Nadal and Ruud’s manner lies in stark contrast with some of the behaviour we’ve seen from Australian tennis players lately. Whilst the rest of the world was focused on France, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic got into a nasty spat online, with Tomic even trying to goad Kyrgios into a boxing match. More on that story here.