Dreams sometimes come true. Especially when you do everything you can to get close to them. That was the path that, in 2018, Casper Ruud chose. Today, he will collect the award. The Norwegian player, who will face Rafa Nadal in the Roland Garros final (3:00 p.m., Eurosport and DMAX), entered the Balearic academy, the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, in that year. He did it being the 143rd in the world; now, in a kind of final exam, he will face his idol and “master” as number 8. Virtually, he is already sixth in the ATP ranking and, on July 13, when the points of last season’s Parisian ‘major’ are subtracted, he could be fifth.
An exciting promotion for Ruud and for the academy itself. “I have never played against Rafa, the last of the great players that I have not faced, and it is the perfect moment, in the final of a Slam, which will be special for me and I hope a little for him, because he will play in front of one of the students from his academy.”, the Norwegian player wanted after beating Croatian Marin Cilic in the semifinals. “If we have to lose with one, better with Ruud”, assured, after Casper’s achievement, Toni Nadal, Rafa’s uncle and former coach and director of the Rafa Nadal Academy.
The tennis center located in Manacor is a great attraction for the entire circuit. It has two players in the Top-100, Jaume Munar in addition to Ruud himself, and constantly receives the visit of illustrious names (Boris Becker, Mats Wilander, Bjorn Borg…) or active players who feel attracted for the facilities it offers (Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Naomi Osaka, Iga Swiatek…). A point of reference for the racket world that, in 2018, received Ruud. “He is one of the players who has progressed the most, He has done an extraordinary job with his father and I think we have collaborated. We feel totally proud of this collaboration”, Toni now assesses himself about his evolution since then.
A job, enhancer of an innate talent, which has led Casper to star in one of the most curious images in the preview of the final, his first in a Grand Slam. The Norwegian, then, at the age of 14, was present in the stands of the Philippe Chatrier cheering, as one more fan, to his idol Nadal. Then, the Spanish player would achieve his eighth Musketeers Cup. Nine years later, a 23-year-old Ruud will try to prevent the Balearic from getting the 14th.