Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 15 - Nadal roughs up the Ruud boy

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So we never got the headline: "Ruud awakening". Instead, mystical forces entwining the centre court clay to the whims of the weather gods ushered Rafael Nadal to a record-extending 14th French Open singles title.

Another day, another defeat

Less than 24 hours after her straight sets defeat to Iga Swiatek in the singles final, Coco Gauff was out on centre court for the women’s doubles final with fellow American Jessica Pegula. They started brilliantly against the French duo of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic but fell apart in the second set. The French pair raced into a 4-0 lead before the Americans came back to 4-3. They served to make it 4-4 but fluffed their chance for parity. The hometown heroines took the set 6-3. And surged away to take the decider 6-2. It was a second success for the Garcia/Mladenovic team who won the title in 2016. And a fourth in total for 29-year-old Mladenovic who lifted the women’s doubles title with Timea Babos in 2019 and 2020.

Air time

In the desire to give the spectators the full French Open final experience, the organisers sent on 10 dancers to do some artistic movements before the arrival of Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud for the men’s final. The review posits that the ensemble was sponsored by Rafael Nadal Enterprises to ward off the rain gods. The Spaniard has made no secret that he prefers heat and dry conditions so that he can generate his cruel spins on the ball. And would you believe it, the prancing appeased the sun gods. The storms that had been predicted to splash down on the closed centre court roof bizarrely failed to appear. They came down around an hour after it was all over.

Moonlighting

Tournament director Amélie Maureso confirmed that the night sessions are going to be reviewed. Bright that. “We will meet 10 days after the tournament and for 48 hours we will brainstorm on that,” she said. “We’ve got feedback from many people already. Nothing is set once and for all. We are open for discussions and we will probably have to consider a number of adjustments and adaptations.” Smart.

Legend time

One of the people who has thrown her opinions in is none other than Billie Jean King. The 78-year-old presented the Coupe des Mousquetaires to Rafael Nadal a few days after she was honoured at the French Open for her victory 50 years ago in the women's singles. “Amélie, she's done a great job, and I think she will make some changes next year,” said one of the most famous campaigners for equal rights. “I always give new people two to three years. Then I make a judgment. But she's in an amazing position of power.” No pressure then Amélie.

Money back

“He's a player I have watched on TV for the last 16, 17 years,” said 23-year-old Casper Ruud after his 3-6, 3-6, 0-6 defeat to Rafael Nadal in the men’s final. “So to be there myself and face him, it's a bit of a challenge as well but a very enjoyable one." Ruud, the eight seed looked to be making a match of it when he led 3-1 in the second set. But Nadal switched on bulldozer mode to win 11 consecutive games. "Of course I wish I could have made the match closer but I can hopefully one day tell my grandkids that I played Rafa on Chatrier in the final, and they will probably say: ‘Wow, did you?’ I will say: ‘Yes.'" Nadal has spoken glowingly about Ruud’s progress and his entire family - obviously not the grandchildren. The final was their first meeting on the tour and Ruud said it was a completely different experience from their practice games together while he was at Nadal's tennis academy in Mallorca. As the Oslo native explained it: you're playing in your first final at a Grand Slam tournament and on the other side of the net stands Nadal who's won 21 of them - 13 in French Open finals. “It's not too easy,” Ruud added. Casper, why the inferiority complex? Didn't they teach you anything at that academy? Ask for your money back.

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