Casper Ruud ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Rafael Nadal won 15th Roland Garros crown
Casper Ruud has predicted that Rafael Nadal will be the man to beat at Roland Garros once again, despite currently being on the sidelines with injury.
Ruud was beaten by Nadal in the final of the clay major last year, 6-3 6-3 6-0, in his first of two Grand Slam finals in 2022.
The Norwegian also lost in the final of the US Open, to Carlos Alcaraz, but has admitted that he is rooting for himself to go one step further in 2023.
Speaking on Eurosport’s ‘Ruud Talk’, the No.4 chatted with fellow Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem about the next Grand Slam tournament, “I don’t know, I still feel like if Dominic or I shouldn’t root for ourselves, I think we both can say that we wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa came up with some ridiculous level once again.”
Ruud continued, “It wouldn’t surprise me, because he will probably use these weeks and these months as he is preparing for exactly, you know, Roland-Garros.”
“You know, it doesn’t matter if he loses in Monte Carlo or if he loses in Rome or Madrid. The only thing that is probably on his mind these days is just to be fit, be healthy and be ready for Roland-Garros.”
Nadal has been out of action since the Australian Open, when he picked up a grade two tear to his iliopsoas muscle in his second round defeat to Mackenzie Mcdonald.
The original recovery period was supposed to be six to eight weeks, but Nadal has since stated that he is ‘taking it week by week’.
The Spaniard also admitted that he did not know if he would be ready to return for the Monte Carlo Masters, that begins on the 9th April, which was his original target.
However, the 14-time Roland Garros champion has given his fans some hope after posting videos of him practicing on the clay at his academy.
Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal levels intensity up at practice on clay!
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) March 11, 2023
Thiem reached the Roland Garros final in 2018 and 2019, losing both to Nadal, but later became a Grand Slam champion at the US Open in 2020.
The Austrian gave some encouraging words to Ruud based on his experiences, “Every Grand Slam final is a great experience, and if you could do it twice, especially on two different surfaces, in two different Slams, you can do it definitely more times.”
He continued, “Then you have the experience from two finals before you go into the match different. At one point, you are going to make it.”
“I really hope that you can make it because you deserve it 100% and I’m cheering for you. Definitely. If it’s not against me, I’m cheering for you.”
The main draw of Roland Garros begins on the 28th May, when Nadal, Ruud, Thiem and many others will be gunning for the prestigous Coupe des Mousquetaires.
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