Beaten French Open finalist Casper Ruud said Rafael Nadal “looked fine” despite his injury problems in Sunday’s showpiece match and that he enjoyed the experience despite suffering a comprehensive defeat.
The Norwegian, who had never even reached a Grand Slam quarter-final before this week, slipped to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 loss as Nadal won the last 11 games.
Nadal, now the 14-time champion in Paris, has said he may not be able to keep playing if he cannot “find a solution” for a chronic left foot injury, but Ruud said he showed no signs of it on the court.
“It was in the back of my mind that something can happen and that I should not give up no matter what because whatever the score is, it might be that something can occur to him,” said the 23-year-old Ruud, who has trained at Nadal’s academy.
“But he looked sharp, he looked fine, and moving well.
“It’s impressive that he has been able to kind of forget about that foot and played very well here.”
Eighth seed Ruud briefly had a glimmer of hope when leading 3-1 in the second set, but he failed to even get another game on the board.
“This one will be high up on my list, biggest match I ever played,” he said.
“Like I have said many times before, he’s a player I have watched on TV for the last 16, 17 years. So to be there myself and face him, it’s a bit of a challenge as well but a very enjoyable one.”
Nadal’s opponents are often intimidated before the match has even started and Ruud said hearing the stadium announcer reel off the Spaniard’s list of titles was daunting.
“Something that’s a bit funny when he plays, when the announcer does the intro and he of course tells all the times he has won the tournament, it never stops, it seems like,” he smiled.
“That takes like half a minute just to say all the years. I think that is something that is also something I will remember.”