Norwegian tennis star Casper Ruud called Rafael Nadal an inspiration as he is amazed by the Spaniard's attitude and how he approaches the game. Nadal, who will be turning 36 next month, is one of the most accomplished players in tennis history but his passion and love for the game haven't diminished not even a bit.
Ruud has a great level of respect and admiration for Nadal and his latest comments about the record 21-time Grand Slam champion show how he feels about the Spaniard. "It's motivating to be around him because you're talking about a guy who has won everything there is to win and still plays today like it's the first time he's playing on the center court," Ruud said, per Reem Abulleil.
Casper Ruud on Rafael Nadal:
It's motivating to be around him because you're talking about a guy who has won everything there is to win and still plays today like it's the first time he's playing on the center court.
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) May 12, 2022
Ruud didn't get a chance to meet Nadal for the first time
On Thursday, Ruud defeated Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-4 in the Rome last-16. Ruud was projected to meet Nadal in the Rome quarterfinal but the Spaniard suffered a shock loss versus Denis Shapovalov.
Nadal dominated Shapovalov in the first set but the Canadian recovered to beat the Spaniard 1-6 7-5 6-2. Nadal didn't get the job on Thursday but Ruud did. Ruud had the first break points in the fourth game but failed to convert as he and Brooksby were tied at two games apiece after the first four games.
Ruud didn't get a break in the fourth game but earned the first break of the match in the sixth game to open a 4-2 lead. Ruud faced a break point in the seventh game and two more in the ninth game but saved them all to win the first set.
Ruud then had a chance to break Brooksby in the opening game of the second set but he missed out on a break point. However, it didn't take long for Ruud to earn the first break of the second set as he broke Brooksby in the third game to take a 2-1 lead.
Ruud then held on to his serve the rest of the way to clinch a straight-set win. It remains to be seen if Ruud will get a chance to meet Nadal at some point in 2022.