Rafael Nadal is arguably the greatest tennis player ever on clay, as well as having won seven Grand Slam titles outside of Roland Garros. A foot injury limited the Spanish phenomenon to just seven official tournaments in 2021, which ended prematurely after the ill-fated Washington campaign.
The 35-year-old Majorcan's main target was obviously Roland Garros, but his race ended in the semifinals at the hands of Novak Djokovic. The former world number 1, forced to skip Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, realized he needed a rest period to get back competitive in 2022.
A few weeks ago, the Manacor veteran announced that he had undergone a little treatment to the foot. Casper Ruud is among the many players who are inspired by Rafa, in full swing to access the ATP Finals in Turin. Despite having started his career as a clay specialist, the Norwegian has improved a lot on hard courts in recent months.
The results obtained in Toronto, Cincinnati and San Diego are there to testify. In a recent interview for the ATP website, Casper analyzed Nadal's influence on how he plays.
Ruud on his passion for Rafael Nadal
"Rafael Nadal is the perfect example and I think also (Dominic) Thiem a little bit," Ruud said.
"I think the general media has considered both Nadal and Thiem (as) you know big-time claycourt specialists and Nadal has won even two times in Wimbledon so it just goes to show that it's possible for the heavy topspin players to play well on the surface."
The Norwegian said he would try and learn the Spaniard's tricks with respect to transitioning from clay to hardcourt. "He is the type of player that I looked up to for many years and we'll try to learn from when it comes to this transition from clay court to hardcourt," he said.
As we come closer towards the Indian Wells 2021, the excitement about the tournament in the Californian desert is building up, for fans and players alike. It is one of the most anticipated events and all the top players from the men’s and women’s circuits compete for the honors.
After all the necessary changes, the Indian Wells 2021 is set to kick off smoothly. Organizers have ensured that fans can attend matches to witness their favorite players in action; however, ensuring the health and safety of everyone associated with the event is a top priority.
To keep all individuals as safe as possible, no exceptions to this policy will be allowed. All tournament volunteers, staff, sponsors, media, and vendors will have to be fully vaccinated in accordance with this policy.