Alize Cornet claims several players contracted COVID-19 at last month's French Open, but kept the outbreak quiet in order to avoid mass withdrawals from the tournament.

Wimbledon has already been rocked by two high-profile male players withdrawing after testing positive for the virus, with last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic both pulling out ahead of scheduled first-round matches on Tuesday.

Now Cornet, who equalled Ai Sugiyama's all-time record of 62 consecutive grand slam main-draw appearances in a win over Yulia Putintseva on day two, claims there were cases at Roland Garros that did not come to light.

"At Roland Garros, there was a Covid epidemic, no one talked about it. In the locker room, everyone got it and we said nothing," she told L'Equipe.

"When it comes out in the press, with big players, it will start to set fire to the lake everywhere and that worries me a little.

"[2021 French Open winner Barbora] Krejcikova withdrew saying she had Covid, and the whole locker room was sick. 

"At some point, we all might have had the flu. The thing is, we have the symptoms, itchy throat… we play and everything is fine, it's fine. 

"At Roland, I think there have been a few cases and it's a tacit agreement between us. We are not going to self-test to get into trouble! 

"Afterwards, I saw girls wearing masks, maybe because they knew and didn't want to pass it on. You also have to have a civic spirit."

Novak Djokovic would be delighted by the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final, as he targets revenge for his French Open loss to the Spaniard.

Nadal remains on course for a calendar Grand Slam after following up January's Australian Open victory with his 14th French Open title earlier this month, having overcome Djokovic in a quarter-final classic on the clay in Paris.

The Spaniard's Roland Garros triumph moved him two clear of Djokovic's tally of 20 grand slam titles, while his last-eight win over the Serbian was his 29th in the pair's head-to-head rivalry (Djokovic has 30 wins).

With 59 career meetings, the duo have met one another more often than any other men's pairing in the Open Era, and they could be set for a final showdown at Wimbledon after landing on opposite sides of the draw.

Speaking to Sky Sports, defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic said he would relish such a contest and insisted Nadal, who has not triumphed on the grass in London since 2010, is among the favourites to take home the title.

 

"If we get to face each other it means we're both in the finals, which I think we both want," Djokovic said.

"It's a very long way [away], but of course you have to put him as one of the favourites, even though he hasn't played at Wimbledon for the last three years [including the cancelled 2020 edition], I think.

"But still, he's Nadal, he has achieved what he has achieved throughout his career and also this year, of course, which gives you a lot of confidence in his case.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of great matches ahead for both of us, and if we get to face [each other] in the final… I'd love to face him in the final and get revenge for Paris!"

Nadal has beaten Djokovic in 11 of the duo's 18 grand slam meetings, although the Serbian holds a 2-1 advantage over their three Wimbledon contests, triumphing in the 2011 final and the 2018 semi-finals.

Djokovic begins his Wimbledon campaign by facing Kwon Soon-woo on Centre Court on Monday, with Nadal taking on Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo the following day.

Rafael Nadal's latest grand slam triumph at the French Open is "unbelievable", says Roger Federer, who believes his rival "keeps raising the bar".

The Spaniard cruised through to both a record 14th success on clay at Roland Garros and a record-extending 22nd men's grand slam title with a straight sets demolition of Casper Ruud.

That made it two from two in 2022 for the 36-year-old, leaving him clear of both Federer and Novak Djokovic, who remain on 20 grand slam crowns each.

The former – who has enjoyed a strong sporting rivalry and friendship with Nadal throughout their intertwined careers – however has nothing but praise for his latest achievement.

"I didn't watch the final," Federer told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. "I watched the quarter-final [against Djokovic] a bit before I went to sleep.

"In general, it's just unbelievable what Rafa has achieved. The record of Pete Sampras, which I beat, was 14 grand slam titles.

"Now Rafa won the French Open 14 times. That's unbelievable. I was happy for him that he did it again.

"Hats off to Rafa. After the 10th, 11th time, I already thought: 'This can't be.' He keeps raising the bar. It's gigantic."

Federer has been unable to add to his own haul of grand slams, having missed the tail-end of 2021 and start of 2022 through injury as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

The 40-year-old Swiss star acknowledged he has not yet plotted anything more than competing in the Laver Cup and Basel Open in October, stressing he will focus on achieving full fitness rather than setting a return date.

"After Basel, the season is over anyway," he added. "It's important for me to get fit again so that I can train fully. Once I've done that, I can choose how many tournaments I play and where.

"The Laver Cup is a good start, I don't have to play five matches in six days.

"I will have be able to do that in Basel. That's why I have to prepare for it in practice. I'm curious myself what's still to come.

"But I'm hopeful, I've come a long way. I'm not far away. The next three or four months will be extremely important."

On a return to top-class tennis in 2023, Federer said that such a move remained the aim, adding: "Yes, definitely. How and where, I don't know yet. But that would be the idea. Definitely."

Alexander Zverev is determined to "come back stronger than ever" after undergoing ankle surgery on Tuesday. 

Zverev tore all three lateral ligaments in his right ankle during the second set of his French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal last week. 

The German is set to miss Wimbledon after his hopes of winning a first grand slam at Roland Garros came to a painful end. 

Zverev is ready to knuckle down with his rehabilitation after going under the knife in his homeland. 

Along with a picture of himself in his hospital bed giving the thumbs up, he posted on Instagram: "We all have our own journey in life. This is part of mine. 

"Next week I'll reach a career-high ranking of number two in the world, but this morning I had to undergo surgery. After further examination in Germany, we received confirmation that all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn. 

"To return to competition as quickly as possible, to ensure all the ligaments heal properly, and to reclaim full stability in my ankle, surgery was the best choice. My rehab starts now and I'll do everything to come back stronger than ever! 

"I am continuing to receive so many messages and would like to thank everyone once again for supporting me during such a difficult time." 

Nadal went on to beat Casper Ruud in the final in Paris on Sunday to claim a record-extending 14th French Open title, taking his astonishing tally of grand slam triumphs to 22. 

Rafael Nadal says it is "crazy" for people to even consider him completing the calendar Grand Slam after triumphing at the Australian Open and French Open.

The Spaniard returned from his long battle with a foot injury to claim the first major of the year in Melbourne, moving clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most grand slam titles in men's history.

Nadal added a record-extending 22nd major to his collection as he lifted a 14th French Open title on Sunday with a straight-sets victory over Casper Ruud.

The 36-year-old was given a couple of injections before every match and will undergo radio frequency injections in a bid to ensure he can go in search of a third major title of the year at the All England Club.

Nadal remains unsure whether he would undergo a major operation to prolong his career, but hopes to be able to be in London when Wimbledon starts on June 27.

Success on the grass courts of Wimbledon would be a third major of the year before the US Open starts at the end of August, but Nadal insists he cannot look that far ahead on his quest for all four grand slams.

"It's crazy to think about completing the Grand Slam after Australia and Roland Garros," he told

"I don't even consider it. More than winning the Grand Slam, I would sign up just to be able to play all four tournaments.

"It's crazy. To win all four, it seems crazy to me because it is something that nobody has done since Rod Laver. 

"The one who came closest was Novak last year. It's crazy to think about it."

While Nadal remains in contention for the calendar Slam, he continues to battle through a foot injury that has plagued him throughout his career.

But the prospect of retirement does not concern Nadal, who is prepared for life after tennis given the amount of times he has thought injury would curtail his playing days.

"I imagine just as I have experienced it many times in my career that I have had to be out of competition for months due to injuries," he added. 

"I have always been happy outside of tennis. It is not something that makes me lose sleep or have any fear of my life after tennis. 

"I have and have always had many things that make me happy beyond tennis."

Rafael Nadal can make it three grand slam titles out of three if his body holds up sufficiently well for Wimbledon, says Tim Henman.

After adding the French Open title to the Australian Open that he won in January, Nadal is halfway to a possible calendar grand slam of all four majors.

That was last achieved in men's singles in 1969, when Australian great Rod Laver carried off the full set.

Nadal received injections before every match at Roland Garros to effectively send his troublesome left foot to sleep and curb pain, and he will have radiofrequency treatment in a bid to ensure he can go in search of a third major title of the year at the All England Club.

The 36-year-old Spaniard hopes to be able to be in London when Wimbledon starts on June 27, and having won there in 2008 and 2010, he will believe in his chances of a third slam on grass.

Former world number four Henman told Eurosport: "If Nadal is healthy, which is a big challenge now with this foot injury, can he win Wimbledon? Absolutely. So I think that's incredibly exciting."

Nadal now has 14 French Opens among his 22 grand slams, a men's record, and is two clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic who share second place on the all-time majors list.

Federer might be finished as a force at the top level, although he appears ready to give it one more shot later in the year, while Djokovic will likely start as favourite for Wimbledon glory, regardless of Nadal's recent feats.

"In terms of who's going to end up with the most grand slams, a couple of years ago I would have said Djokovic, for sure," said Henman, a perennial British favourite at Wimbledon who reached four semi-finals there. He now sits on the board of the All England Club, the tournament hosts.

"Right now, with that little bit of distance, I think Nadal has got a great chance. It's going to be fascinating to see. You've got another opportunity in three weeks' time, so fingers crossed, I so hope Nadal can be there on grass."

Rafael Nadal says he will play at Wimbledon if his body allows him to after winning a record-extending 14th French Open title on Sunday.

The legendary Spaniard has now won two more majors than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic after taking his astonishing haul to 22 with a 6-3 6-3 6-0 defeat of Casper Ruud at Roland Garros.

Nadal's latest triumph was achieved despite the 36-year-old having anaesthetic injections on his nerves that left his foot "asleep."

The Mallorca native revealed he was barely able to walk after beating Corentin Moutet in the second round of his favourite tournament in Paris.

Nadal says he was given a couple of injections before every match and will undergo radio frequency injections in a bid to ensure he can go in search of a third major title of the year at the All England Club.

The record-breaking Nadal is not sure if he would want to undergo a major operation to prolong his career, but hopes to be able to be in London when Wimbledon starts on June 27.

He said: "I'm going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon. That's it. Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss.

"I think nobody wants to miss Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon. I had a lot of success there. I have lived amazing emotions there. So full credit and respect to the tournament.

"A player like me, I am always ready to play Wimbledon. So if you ask me if I will be in Wimbledon, I can't give you a clear answer. If I want to win Wimbledon, of course. Let's see how the treatment works.

"I don't know. I don't want to talk about how many injections I had, because as you can imagine, I had to take a lot of anti-inflammatories too. But before every single match I had to do a couple of injections."

Nadal has ruled out putting himself through the same treatment during Wimbledon that he underwent during his latest glorious run in Paris.

He added: "Wimbledon is a priority, always has been a priority. If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes; to play with anaesthetic injections, no.

"I don't want to put myself in that position again. It can happen once, but it is not a philosophy of life that I want to follow. So let's see.

"I am always a positive guy, and I am always expect the things going the right way. So let's be confident, and let's be positive. Then let's see what's going on."

Roger Federer's coach called for Court Philippe-Chatrier to be named after Rafael Nadal and Real Madrid paid tribute to the legendary Spaniard after he won a staggering 14th French Open title.

Nadal produced yet another masterclass at Roland Garros, beating Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0 to secure a record-extending 22nd grand slam title on Sunday.

There have been concerns the 36-year-old may be forced to retire due to a foot injury, but one of the all-time greats vowed to fight on after completing the Australian Open and Roland Garros double in the same year for the first time.

Nadal was imperious as he moved two clear of Federer and Novak Djokovic's haul of major crowns.

The 'King of Clay' has won an astonishing 112 French Open matches and suffered only three defeats in one of the most astonishing sporting dominances.

Ivan Ljubicic, Federer's coach, called for the main show court at Roland Garros to be named after Nadal.

He tweeted: "Not many PLAYED 14 @rolandgarros tournaments. He won it 14 times. There is no word to describe this feat. Don't think good old Philippe would mind if his court changes the name to Rafael Nadal - statue is not enough."

Never meet your heroes. Casper Ruud was setting himself up for a fall when he described Rafael Nadal as "my idol for all my life" heading into Sunday's French Open final, and when that fall arrived it was spectacular.

Ruud versus Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier was a classic mismatch on paper, and on clay.

The fanboy stood no chance, swept away 6-3 6-3 6-0 as Nadal landed Roland Garros title number 14, an absurd feat of sporting staying power, becoming the oldest men's singles champion at the Paris grand slam, moving to 22 majors, two clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

If Ruud needs a little consolation, the great Federer, at the peak of his powers, only took four games off Nadal in the 2008 final.

This is not the 2008 Nadal though. This is Nadal at 36 years and two days old, a player who needed a doctor at his side during the past fortnight to allow him to step on court.

Nadal has a foot problem that is said to be incurable, but thankfully it is treatable.

"We played with no feeling on the foot," Nadal told Eurosport. "We played with an injection on the nerve so that the foot was asleep, so that's why I was able to play."

While the foot was sleeping, the rest of Nadal's body was picking up the slack.

Ruud was six years old in 2005 when Nadal won his first French Open, and 17 years later he had the best view in Court Philippe-Chatrier of the Spaniard again in full flow.

This was his first match against Nadal, although they have often practiced together at the Spaniard's academy in Mallorca, where Ruud has done much of his learning. Here was another lesson.

Nadal loves a mid-afternoon match with the roof open, and a warm day in the French capital only enhanced his sense that the place was feeling like home.

He was on top without being masterful in the opening set, simply doing enough against the first Norwegian man to reach a slam final.

Trumpets blared Y Viva Espana when he wrapped that one up, then delivered a fanfare as Nadal strolled back onto court for the start of the second set.

He receives the first-class treatment in Paris, with the king of Spain, Felipe VI, on hand to witness the king of clay scale his latest career height.

There was perhaps brief concern for his royal highness when Ruud broke Nadal's serve early in the second set to eke out a 3-1 lead, but he needn't have worried.

Ruud won a 19-shot rally to earn three break points, and that was followed by a double fault from the favourite.

Nadal later called that game "a disaster", but he should probably let it go.

Armed with a 3-1 lead in that second set, it was imperative that Ruud should build on that.

He didn't win another game.

When Nadal swatted away a forehand to bring up a break point in the second game of the third set, he had Ruud right where he wanted him, and a vicious backhand out of the Norwegian's reach secured a seventh successive game.

Number eight followed, and then a ninth as the clean winners flowed from Nadal's racket. The winners and the games kept coming.

The contest had moved into mercy-killing territory. Make it quick Rafa, as painless as possible, don't drag it out.

When he fizzed a backhand down the line on match point, way out of Ruud's reach, it was all over. Two hours and 18 minutes was all it took. With a little less of his familiar between-points faffing, Nadal might have had it done inside two hours.

He lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires with the gusto of a man who had never held it before, and that in itself spoke volumes for this achievement.

Nadal's Roland Garros record now shows 112 wins and just three defeats, and this was a 63rd title on clay – a 92nd title overall. What a career.

Andres Gimeno, also from Spain, was 34 years, 10 months and one day old when he captured the 1972 French Open title, and until Sunday he was the oldest men's champion at this event.

Nadal spoke afterwards of his determination to keep playing, keep "fighting". He wants to wring every last ounce of strength from a body that is letting him know that retirement cannot be far away, and he is getting incredible bang for his buck just now.

Which is why we can now look at Wimbledon, and pose the question: can he do this again on grass?

And if at this point you are thinking, 'surely not', just remember what he has achieved in Melbourne and now in Paris this year, and ask yourself instead: why ever not?

Rafael Nadal claimed the 14th French Open title of his astonishing career and vowed he would "keep fighting" to earn even more success.

There had been speculation during this Roland Garros fortnight that Nadal could retire if he landed the trophy, a record-extending 22nd men's singles grand slam.

Yet the 36-year-old, who has won two majors this year despite being hampered by a long-bothersome foot problem, is determined to play on until his body refuses.

He thrashed Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0, reigning in Paris once again, some 17 years after his first triumph. Watched by the king of Spain, Felipe VI, Nadal was again sensational on the red clay, becoming the oldest champion.

"For me personally, it is very difficult to describe the feelings that I have," Nadal said.

"I for sure never believed I'd be here at 36 being competitive again, playing in the most important court of my career once again. It means a lot of energy to try to keep going."

Nadal told the crowd: "It's unbelievable to play here with your support. I don't know what can happen in the future, but I'm going to keep fighting to try to keep going."

Addressing Ruud, Norway's first men's grand slam singles finalist, Nadal said: "I want to congratulate you for an amazing career you are having, and this two weeks is a very important step forward, so I am very, very happy for you and for all your family. I'm very happy for you and wish you all the very best for the future."

Nadal praised his family and support team for giving him strength when times have been tough. He looked in intense pain recently in Rome, but Nadal has come back to take his career to new heights.

"It's completely amazing the things that are happening this year," said Nadal, who won the Australian Open in January. "Without you, nothing of this will be possible without any doubt.

"Especially in the very tough moments that we went through in terms of injuries. If I don't have a great support from the team – family, everybody that has been next to me – nothing of this would be possible because I would be retired much before, so many, many thanks for everything."

As Nadal considers whether he could push for a calendar grand slam by targeting Wimbledon and the US Open, Ruud will reflect on a tough first grand slam final experience.

Ruud idolised Nadal from a young age and in recent years has trained at the Spaniard's Mallorca academy.

Runner-up Ruud said: "The first thing and the most important thing is to congratulate Rafa. It's your 14th time here, a 22nd all-around in grand slams. 

"We all know what a champion you are, and today I got to feel how it is to play you in a final, and it's not easy, and I'm not the first victim. I know there have been many before."

At that point, the crowd bellowed "Ruuuuudddd", the shout that sounds like a boo but is wholly affectionate. They have taken Ruud to their hearts, and once Nadal retires he may well have his own glory days on the Paris clay.

"To you, Rafa, your team, your family, you've taken me into your academy with open arms," Ruud added. "We all hope you will continue for some more time."

Rafael Nadal emphatically sealed a record-extending 14th French Open title with an imperious straight-sets victory over Casper Ruud on Sunday.

Fifth seed Nadal was relentless as he took his record tally of grand slam titles to 22 with another domineering display, beating Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0 to reign yet again on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Amid uncertainty over how long the 36-year-old Spaniard will be able to continue playing, he did not resemble a man who has been struggling with a foot injury as he outclassed Ruud in the Norwegian's first major final.

Ruud was no match for his idol, who won 11 games in a row to secure back-to-back grand slam triumphs and maintain his perfect record in championship matches at Roland Garros.

Nadal struck an early blow when he broke with a majestic cross-court forehand winner on the run for a 2-0 lead, but he gifted the eighth seed an immediate break back with a couple of double faults before missing a forehand.

Ruud was unable to build on that, spraying a wild forehand long and seeing another bounce before crashing into the net to go a break down at 3-1.

Nadal darted in to put away a backhand winner to go 5-2 up and fired down three excellent serves in a row to wrap up the set.

Ruud got himself out of a hole by saving three break points before holding in the first game of the second set and the sprightly Scandinavian broke to love for a 3-1 lead, Nadal ending a poor service game with a double fault.

There was a sense of deja vu when Nadal broke straight back, letting out a roar after Ruud looped a backhand into the tramlines and the Mallorca native led 4-3 when a lob from the underdog landed long.

Nadal was shifting through the gears, disdainfully swatting away forehand winners to get a packed crowd purring as he won a fifth game in a row to take the second set.

A prowling Nadal continued to dominate, racing in to put away another winner for a 2-0 lead in the third set and showing no mercy on a player who has trained at his academy but was not made to feel so welcome by one of the all-time greats in Paris.

Ruud had no answer to the brilliance of Nadal as he was swept aside in the most one-sided of third sets, the champion putting him out of his misery with a backhand winner.

Coco Gauff lost her second French Open final of the weekend as the teenager and Jessica Pegula were beaten by Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in the women's doubles.

Gauff was defeated in straight sets on Saturday by world number one Iga Swiatek in her maiden grand slam final at Roland Garros.

The 18-year-old and her fellow American Pegula started well on Sunday, taking the first set before their French opponents stormed back to win 2-6 6-3 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

An early break from Gauff and Pegula gave the number eight seeds the advantage, before another in the seventh game allowed them to serve out the opening set.

However, the experienced Garcia and Mladenovic found several more gears to race out into a 4-0 lead in the second set.

Gauff and Pegula - who was also beaten by Swiatek in the quarter-finals of the singles' event in Paris - came back to 3-4, but were broken again and the French duo grasped the chance to level the match.

The decider was one-sided, with Garcia and Mladenovic again taking a 4-0 lead, before eventually serving out to win as the 2016 champions were able to repeat the trick six years later in front of a delighted home crowd.

Mladenovic has now celebrated four doubles triumphs in her home grand slam - two with Garcia and as many with Timea Babos. This was Garcia's second success.

Rafael Nadal versus Casper Ruud has the air of one of sport's great mismatches ahead of the French Open title match.

Nadal's record at Roland Garros is spectacularly intimidating as he bids for a record-extending 14th title on the Paris clay, having won all 13 of his past finals.

In sharp contrast, Ruud has never played a grand slam final. Nor until this week had he played a semi-final at this level, or a quarter-final.

Nadal will be chasing a 22nd title at the majors on Sunday, and Ruud a first; and yet there are factors that offer the underdog hope, not least the fact the favourite is pushing his body into a new fresh hell every time he steps onto court.

Coach Carlos Moya told ATPTour.com that Nadal, hampered by a long-bothersome foot problem, was carrying "a lot of wear and tear".

"But it's the final push," said Moya, anticipating one last gargantuan effort from the man who turned 36 this week.

"So far, Rafa has done an astonishing job of surviving without playing his best tennis."

Ahead of what could be a far tighter final than Saturday's one-sided women's showpiece, Stats Perform assesses the form and the stakes affecting both players.


One last swing at glory for Nadal?

It has long been the case that Nadal has nothing left to prove. Yet it is the Spaniard's instinct to want to push himself to new heights, and his quarter-final win over Novak Djokovic encapsulated that drive.

"All the sacrifices and all the things that I need to go through to try to keep playing really makes sense when you enjoy moments like I'm enjoying in this tournament," Nadal said after booking his place in the final. He was the beneficiary of Alexander Zverev's injury-forced retirement in the semi-finals, and now a first career match against Ruud awaits.

Should Nadal win, at the age of 36 years and two days, he would become the oldest men's singles champion at Roland Garros in history, surpassing his compatriot Andres Gimeno, who was 34 years, 10 months and one day old when he captured the 1972 title.

No other man in history has reached double figures for titles at a single grand slam, with Novak Djokovic's nine Australian Open wins the next most in a major. Across his 13 previous Roland Garros finals, Nadal has dropped only seven sets.

Given his injury problems, it is highly possible this will prove to be Nadal's final French Open. He has an astonishing overall record of 332-34 in sets won and lost at Roland Garros, emerging victorious from 111 of his 114 matches.

If Ruud looks too closely at Nadal's career numbers, they might become dizzying. The veteran has won 62 of his 91 titles on clay, once enjoyed an 81-match winning streak on the surface (2005-07) and has spent a record 871 consecutive weeks inside the ATP top 10, from 2005 to the present day.

He has never won the Australian Open and French Open in the same year, so that is now achievable, given his success at Melbourne Park in January, when he nudged one clear of Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time list of most men's singles slam wins.

"We haven't spoken about number 22," said Moya. "Obviously, it's on the horizon, but that would add pressure to Rafa. It's not necessary."


Would it be Ruud to crash the party?

Nadal said Ruud's run has been "not a surprise at all", and there were some experts who fancied the Norwegian to come through the bottom half of the draw before the tournament began, albeit with most making Stefanos Tsitsipas a likelier finalist.

A curiosity is the fact Ruud has trained at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca since 2018, and he has often practised with Nadal. This, though, is their first encounter in competition. The last first-time meeting in a men's French Open final came in 1997 when Gustavo Kuerten beat Sergi Bruguera.

Ruud, 23, would be the youngest men's singles grand slam winner since 20-year-old Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer in the 2009 US Open final. That was a sensation of a result, with the Argentinian ending Federer's five-year reign in New York, and Ruud may find some encouragement from such an upset.

Ruud leads the ATP Tour since the start of the 2020 season in clay-court wins (66), finals (nine) and titles (seven), yet all of his eight career titles have come at ATP 250 level, a relatively low tier of the professional game where the biggest names rarely compete.

He stepped up by reaching the final of the Miami Open, an ATP 1000 tournament, in April, but was beaten to the title by Carlos Alcaraz.

Sunday's challenger from Oslo, whose father and coach Christian Ruud was an ATP top-50 player in his mid-1990s prime, is a former junior world number one.

He has now become Norway's first grand slam finalist and must tackle arguably the most daunting challenge in the men's game.

Nadal said of Ruud on Friday: "I think in the academy we were able to help him a little bit. I like to see a good person achieving his dreams. I'm happy for him, I'm happy for his mom, dad.

"I know them very well. They are a super healthy family and great people. As always, I am super happy when I see these great people having success."

Nadal did not go on to say he would disbar Ruud from his academy should there be a shock outcome on Sunday.

Perhaps the thought of Ruud winning simply never crossed Nadal's mind.

Billie Jean King says it is time for female tennis players to stop being treated like "second-class citizens" and backed Amelie Mauresmo to redress the balance at the French Open.

Mauresmo apologised after this week stating that there had only been one women's match at Roland Garros played in the night session as the men's game is more appealing.

Iga Swiatek, who won her second grand slam title in Paris on Saturday, described the French Open tournament director's comments as "disappointing and surprising".

The legendary King has called for female players to be in the spotlight more and expects that to be the case on Court Philippe-Chatrier next year, when Mauresmo will oversee the clay-court major for a second time after a difficult start to her tenure.

"You've got to put them when it's prime time, and you have got to figure it out and you want to give equal opportunity to both genders," King said during a press conference at Roland Garros.

"Always. You always want to make sure you do the right thing by each person. They should have the same amount of women's matches as they do men's. Real easy.

"Right now we are playing two out of three sets, we will get out of there faster.

"I think the men should change that. If we keep treating us like second-class citizens we will stay second-class citizens. You want to make everyone feel important

"We should have more matches, but I think Amelie will take care of that next year. Knowing her, she's a winner."

World number one Swiatek swept 18-year-old Coco Gauff aside to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for a second time on Saturday, winning 6-1 6-3 to extend her astonishing run of victories to 35.

Iga Swiatek said it was "special" to have produced a longer winning run than Serena Williams and ominously vowed she can take her game to another level after triumphing at the French Open.

The world number one outclassed Coco Gauff on Court Philippe-Chatrier to win her second grand slam title, beating the teenager 6-1 6-3.

Swiatek's victory was her 35th in a row, one more than Williams' best winning streak from 2013, and the Pole is the first player to prevail in nine WTA Tour finals in a row.

Venus Williams is the only other woman since the start of 2000 to have reeled off 35 consecutive victories, while Swiatek and Serena Williams are the only women in the same period to have won six titles in the first six months of a year.

Swiatek expressed her pride at having gone one better than superstar Serena.

She said: "It may seem pretty weird, but having that 35th win and kind of doing something more than Serena did, it's something special.

"Because I always wanted to have some kind of a record. In tennis it's pretty hard after Serena's career. So that really hit me.

"Obviously winning a grand slam too, but this one was pretty special because I felt like I've done something that nobody has ever done, and maybe it's gonna be even more. This one was special."

The two-time French Open champion added: "Before the match, before the tournament, I was like, 'Okay, is it going to be even possible to beat Serena's result?'.

"I realised that I would have to be in a final. I was, like, 'Ah, we will see how the first rounds are going to go'. I didn't even think about that before. But right now I feel like the streak is more important. I kind of confirmed my good shape."

Swiatek has been on another level to her rivals this year but says there is room for improvement.

"For sure," she said. "There is always something to improve, honestly. I'm still not a complete player. Especially, I feel like even on the net I could be more solid.

"This is something that Coco actually has, because I think she started working on that much, much earlier than me. There are many things. I'm not going to tell you, because it may sound like I'm concerned about some stuff."

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