'Rafael Nadal and I have reached a stage where we look...', says young star



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'Rafael Nadal and I have reached a stage where we look...', says young star

Rafael Nadal has hit his big goal of 2020, equaling Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams thanks to his 13th success at Roland Garros. Although an official communication has not yet arrived, the Spanish phenomenon should have already closed his season, as Rafa himself had anticipated at a press conference after his triumph in Paris.

If the decision were confirmed, the former World number 1 would miss the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy and especially the ATP Finals in London. Meanwhile Casper Ruud, who has been training at the Rafa Nadal Academy for over two years, underlined the great difference between the Mallorcan's behavior in everyday life compared to his attitude on the pitch.

The Norwegian was one of the protagonists of the circuit upon his return after the suspension, having totaled 22 victories enhanced by the semifinal at the Internationals of Italy.

Ruud on Rafael Nadal

"Rafael Nadal is an extremely different person off the field compared to how he is on it," Casper Ruud told Nettavisen.

"On the field, he is both fearless and a little ruthless towards the opponents. One would almost think that he enjoys bothering them with the game he plays. But off the field he is extremely calm, and a normal, humble person," he added.

"It's a bit like he just turns on the switch and is a different person when he goes out on a tennis court, so it has been fun for me to experience and see." Ruud, who has 22 wins on the tour this year - the same as Rafael Nadal - added that he has he has been trying to incorporate the Spaniard's attitude in his own approach to the sport as well.

"When Rafael Nadal sits at the facility and eats lunch before the game, he is quite calm, but as soon as he starts to start the match, there is no stopping," Ruud said. "It's something I've also tried to look at and bring to my game and my tennis.

When you are on the field you are there to do a job and nothing more than that. Now we may have reached the stage where we look at each other as competitors," the 21-year-old said. "We are probably more there now rather than him being a babysitter holding my hand and supporting me.

That is completely wrong. Now this is how I want it to be, because it proves that I have come a long way. I reckon that he thinks it's great that someone from the academy has come to where I am now," Ruud said. "He sends 'congratulations' when I do well and things like that, so it's a nice gesture from him.

I got a message from him after Rome. He congratulated me, and it is nice for me that he follows (my matches) a little."