Rafa Nadal Casper Ruud French Open final 2022

Casper Ruud pays tribute to Rafael Nadal after winning the biggest title of his career

Casper Ruud has claimed the biggest title of his career at the Barcelona Open, having enacted revenge over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Ruud was previously on a seven match losing streak in finals above ATP 250 level, but brought an end to that after beating Tsitsipas 7-5 6-3 in Barcelona.

The Barcelona Open has been won a record 12 times by Rafael Nadal, with centre court actually being named after the former No.1, and Ruud actually paid tribute to the Spaniard when speaking about why this title means so much to him.

“It’s an incredible feeling, to be able to win this tournament is something special. I grew up watching this tournament on television and it was always a joy to see Nadal, who was the guy I idolized growing up, succeed here,” explained Ruud.

“He won this tournament 12 times, so It has always been a motivation and an inspiration for me to come here. Lifting the trophy is a fantastic feeling, I had three defeats in finals this year, so it has been great to be able to have my revenge and finally be able to lift a title. It is a great step. forward in my career.”

It is two finals in as many weeks for both Ruud and Tsitsipas, with the Greek on the winning side of the result at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

And Ruud spoke about how he approached the final in Barcelona differently, “I tried to approach this match differently than in Monte Carlo, without thinking too much about the fact that it is a final.”

He continued, “The tactics were somewhat different: I was more aggressive in the rest, I played a little closer to the baseline, since last week last time in Monte Carlo he had all the time in the world to serve and volley and I was unable to score deep.

“Today I made the right decision, it was something we trained this morning that helped me a lot: I played faster and I was more. aggressive, since when Stef has time to hit the ball and control the game he is someone very dangerous and very difficult to beat.”

Although this is the biggest title of Ruud’s career, the 25-year-old appears hungry to strive for greater successes in the future, “I would love that, when I play a new final of a tournament like an ATP 500, although the dream is to play a Grand Slam final again, having been able to win this match makes the difference between winning and lose.

“You never know, anyway. Hopefully it can be a big step forward in my career and a match that makes me have more confidence in myself in big games and big tournaments.”

Ruud will now move onto the Madrid Open, where he was a semi-finalist back in 2021, but has not won a single match in the past two years.

Inside the baseline…

Neither Casper Ruud or Stefanos Tsitsipas had won an ATP 500 before, so something had to give and it was the Norwegian making that breakthrough. Hopefully this can springboard the world No.6 onto bigger things now, as he certainly has the ability to win Masters 1000 titles and possibly even a Grand Slam on clay.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.