Carlos Alcaraz does not believe he should be considered among the favourites to win Wimbledon given his lack of experience playing on grass. 

The teenage Spaniard is enjoying a breakout season, having won a pair of ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid and picked up further silverware in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. 

Alcaraz has been seeded fifth for just his second main-draw appearance at Wimbledon. Last year, he beat Yasutaka Uchiyama in five sets before falling to a straight-sets defeat against Daniil Medvedev. 

They are Alcaraz's only ATP Tour-level matches on grass, so his main focus heading to the All England Club is to simply improve his feel for the surface. 

"I don't mind being in the spotlight, I don't see it as pressure, but I've seen that I'm considered one of the favourites for Wimbledon. I don't see it that way at all," Alcaraz told the Spanish media. 

"There are many players who play better than me on grass. [Novak] Djokovic, Rafa [Rafael Nadal], [Matteo] Berrettini... We are going to try to gain experience on this surface. 

"Knowing how to move well on grass is very important. I think it's the key to being able to get good results. We're trying to improve in mobility and the small details that are more important on this surface. 

"Being more aggressive, trying to take advantage of the fact that I volley well – those things." 

Alcaraz is playing an exhibition tournament at Hurlingham this week and lost his opening match against Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-2 on Thursday. 

The world number seven has been struggling with an elbow issue, but experienced no discomfort during his defeat. 

"A week ago, I couldn't train at all," he added. "I came here unsure if I was going to be able to play normally.

"The days I've been able to train I've felt quite well – zero pain in the elbow – and today there was no pain in the match with Tiafoe."

Rafael Nadal proved his fitness on his return to action ahead of Wimbledon with a routine straight-sets victory over Stan Wawrinka in Wednesday's exhibition match.

The 37-year-old has won the Australian Open and French Open titles already this year, but his bid for a grand slam sweep was halted by a troublesome foot problem.

Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros despite needing pain-killing injections before every match, leaving his fitness in doubt for Wimbledon next week.

However, the 22-time grand slam winner confirmed last week he was planning on taking part in the third major of the year after spending time training on grass in Mallorca.

And in his first match since beating Casper Ruud in the French Open final two-and-a-half weeks ago, Nadal eased past Wawrinka at the Hurlingham Club in London.

The Spaniard raced into a five-game lead in the opener and, despite losing his break of serve in the seventh game, saw out a straightforward opening set.

Playing in front of around 1,300 spectators, Nadal was pushed a little harder in the second set but still came through relatively unscathed to win 6-2 6-3 in a little over an hour.

Wawrinka, who has been handed a wild card for Wimbledon, expects Nadal to be right in the mix for a third crown at All England Club, 12 years on from his most recent triumph.

"After that I have a lot to work on," he joked. "But it's OK, it's against Rafa. We are used to losing against him. It's normal!.

"I don't know how he's feeling – it looks like normal Rafa. He has been saying he is feeling better and if he is playing he is ready to play his best and to win.

"I think Rafa any time he enters a grand slam is going to be one of the favourites, if not the favourite. 

"He won the first two slams of the year without too many matches before those grand slams so he got a lot of confidence so of course he is part of the favourites."

As well as twice winning Wimbledon, Nadal has also reached the semi-finals in his past two appearances in 2018 and 2019.

After getting a first grass-court appearance in three years under his belt, he is hoping for more happy memories during his time in the English capital.

"I have spent some fantastic moments here in London," he said. "Playing of course at the World Tour Finals a lot of times but of course playing at Wimbledon since 2003. 

"It was always a big goal and a dream for me to achieve important things here at Wimbledon and I was able to make that happen for the first time in 2008. 

"Since that moment, I always come back with the same passion and I always feel very welcomed by the crowd here."
 
Nadal will be number two seed when the draw takes place on Friday, with long-time rival Novak Djokovic the top seed in the absence of Daniil Medvedev.

The calendar Grand Slam remains a "realistic goal" for Rafael Nadal, but he will not lose sleep over the holy grail in tennis as he prepares for Wimbledon.

That is the message from Carlos Moya, who is a former world number one and has coached Nadal since 2016.

Nadal made an incredible comeback at the start of 2022 from a foot injury that has plagued much of his career, winning the Australian Open before claiming another French Open crown.

The 36-year-old surpassed Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the men's all-time grand slam wins list with victory in Melbourne, with Roland Garros success representing his 22nd major title.

Nadal has repeatedly played down the prospect of winning all four men's majors in a calendar year, with Rod Laver the last to do so all the way back in 1969.

While the calendar Grand Slam remains on the cards, Moya warned Nadal is only halfway to completing the illustrious haul as the Spaniard heads to Wimbledon.

"It is a realistic goal, right now he is the only one that can achieve it this year," Moya told Eurosport Spain.

"It is the first time in his career that he is in a position to achieve it, but we see it as something far away, it is only halfway.

"At the moment he doesn't lose sleep, as a team few things keep us up at night and this is not one of them.

"We have to go little by little, it is not something that we talk about, it is not a primary objective, although we are not going to give up on it."

Nadal revealed in Paris that he intended to have radiofrequency injections to boost his hopes of competing at the All England Club, and he has undergone two courses of said treatment.

Wimbledon starts on Monday, a tournament that Nadal has won in 2008 and 2010, but he has not played there since reaching the semi-finals in 2019.

Nadal ramped up his preparations with a week training on grass in Mallorca before playing an invitation event at Hurlingham Club this week, where he faced Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday.

"We had a pretty good week of training in Mallorca, although the grass there is a bit different from London, maybe that's why it's taking a little bit for him to adapt to the grass in England," Moya added.

"Right now, the important thing is that he spends time on the court and that his foot is fine, little by little he will pick up the pace, we also hope that the draw will help, especially in the first games.

"At Wimbledon there can always be more surprises. Regardless of the player you get in those first rounds, what is dangerous is the type of opponent you get, you have to be careful with the sluggers.

"Now he has two important exhibition matches, my confidence in him for Wimbledon remains the highest. He is perfectly suited to grass."

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic and women's world number one Iga Swiatek head the seedings for Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.

The championships issued its lists of seeds on Tuesday, with Russian and Belarusian players absent from the line-up after they were excluded from the tournament because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

It means Russia's men's world number one Daniil Medvedev is absent, while Germany's second-ranked Alexander Zverev also misses out, in his case because of an ankle injury.

With Wimbledon sticking to the ATP and WTA rankings, that means world number three Djokovic automatically moves up to the top seeding as he chases a seventh title at the All England Club, and a 21st grand slam win of his career.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Rafael Nadal is the second seed, with the Spaniard having already won the Australian Open and French Open titles this year to nudge two majors ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time men's list. Federer, still battling his way back from knee surgery, will not play Wimbledon this year and turns 41 in August.

Norway's Casper Ruud, fresh from reaching the French Open final, is the third seed, with Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas fourth. Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz is fifth, while Great Britain's Cameron Norrie, ninth on the list, receives his first top-10 seeding at Wimbledon.

Norrie is bumped up from his world ranking of number 12, given world number eight Andrey Rublev, another Russian, is prevented from competing.

The women's reigning champion Ash Barty has retired since capturing the title last July, so her successor as the dominant player on the WTA Tour, Swiatek, assumes the top seeding.

Swiatek has reeled off 35 consecutive match wins, dominating on hardcourts and clay, but she has less of a grass pedigree, albeit the 21-year-old Pole is a former junior Wimbledon champion.

Last year saw Swiatek lose in the fourth round to Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who is the third seed this time. Estonia's Anett Kontaveit is the second seed, with Wimbledon no longer making any allowances for grass-court prowess, as it used to when devising its seeding lists.

Britain's Emma Raducanu, like Norrie, is a Wimbledon top-10 seed for the first time. The shock US Open champion is seeded 10th, one ahead of the American teenager Coco Gauff.

The format means there will be dangerous unseeded players in the draw, notably Nick Kyrgios and two-time champion Andy Murray in the men's singles.

Serena Williams, the seven-time women's champion, is entered on a wildcard and is also unseeded. Williams, 40, has not played singles since abandoning her first-round match at Wimbledon last year due to injury, but entered this week's doubles event at Eastbourne, partnering Jabeur.


Men's top 10: 1. Novak Djokovic, 2. Rafael Nadal, 3. Casper Ruud, 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 5. Carlos Alcaraz, 6. Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7. Hubert Hurkacz, 8. Matteo Berrettini, 9. Cameron Norrie, 10. Jannik Sinner

Women's top 10: 1. Iga Swiatek, 2. Anett Kontaveit, 3. Ons Jabeur, 4. Paula Badosa, 5. Maria Sakkari, 6. Karolina Pliskova, 7. Danielle Collins, 8. Jessica Pegula, 9. Garbine Muguruza, 10. Emma Raducanu

Rafael Nadal has confirmed he is planning to play at Wimbledon after proving his fitness during a week of training on grass in Mallorca.

The 22-time grand slam winner made his announcement in a news conference on Friday.

Nadal, 36, has won the Australian Open and French Open titles already this year and is halfway towards a possible sweep of the grand slams, a feat that was last achieved in men's singles by Australian Rod Laver in 1969.

Spaniard Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros despite needing pain-killing injections before every match, as he continues to battle a foot problem that has plagued him for much of his career.

Nadal said in Paris that he intended to undergo radiofrequency injections in a bid to ensure he could compete at the All England Club, and he has undergone two courses of such treatment.

Wimbledon starts on June 27, and it is a tournament that Nadal won in 2008 and 2010, although he has not played there since 2019, when he reached the semi-finals.

Speaking in Mallorca on Friday, Nadal said: "I have managed to reduce the pain. I am happy to have been a week without going lame.

"They have been somewhat different pains. We have to wait to see how it evolves in the next few weeks. My intention is to play Wimbledon.

"Two radiofrequency sessions have been done and the evolution has been satisfactory. I don't know what might happen in five days. For now, the treatment has allowed me to train and that has made me make the decision to fly to London."

Nadal has labelled the idea of a calendar grand slam sweep as "crazy", although Novak Djokovic came tantalisingly close last year, winning the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon before losing to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

He is optimistic the London courts could prove helpful to his prospects, if he can carry over his clay form to the grass.

"I don't think the grass hurts my foot more than other surfaces. From my point of view, the grass is softer than other surfaces," Nadal said.

"The only thing I can say is the week I have been practising here after my treatment has been positive, I have experienced some improvements, different feelings, in my foot and I take that as a positive thing.

"My goal or my intention is to travel to London next Monday, play two matches there before the tournament starts and follow my normal schedule to prepare the best possible way for Wimbledon.

"Today that's all I can say. What can happen in a couple of days, if the situation changes or becomes more negative, then that will be the moment to explain another thing. Today I am positive.

"I am excited to travel to Wimbledon to try to play Wimbledon after three years."

Rafael Nadal was stepping up preparation for Wimbledon by training on Mallorca's best grass courts on Thursday, an apparently positive sign that he intends to play in London.

The Australian Open and French Open champion said after his Roland Garros triumph at the start of June that he would only appear at Wimbledon if he could compete without needing anaesthetic injections in a troublesome foot.

The 36-year-old said he was given a couple of injections before every match and announced he would undergo radio frequency injections in a bid to feature at the third grand slam of the year.

Nadal is halfway towards a potential sweep of the four majors, defying the foot trouble by producing results that few saw coming. Rod Laver in 1969 was the last man to win all four singles majors in a calendar year.

Spaniard Nadal was pictured by organisers of the Mallorca Championships on Thursday, during a practice session on one of the tournament's plush courts.

Nadal, who hails from the island, is reluctant to undergo major surgery to prolong his career.

Wimbledon starts on June 27, and it is a tournament that Nadal has won twice, in 2008 and 2010.

He leads the all-time list of men's grand slam singles title winners, with 22 to his name now, two more than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have managed.

That is still one fewer than Serena Williams has managed during her stellar career, and the 40-year-old American rolled in to London on Thursday for another tilt at Wimbledon.

Due to injury, Williams has not competed on the WTA Tour since last year's championships at the All England Club.

She has received a wildcard into Wimbledon, where she has been a champion seven times, most recently in 2016.

Williams posted a video on Instagram of her arriving in London with daughter Olympia.

She intends to compete in doubles at Eastbourne, partnering Ons Jabeur, in the week leading up to Wimbledon.

Serena Williams' return to Wimbledon represents a "great example" to other players, according to Nick Kyrgios, who said tennis fans should not take her or other fellow greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, for granted.

Comparing the quartet to four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, Kyrgios says sports fans should enjoy the legends' "amazing" exploits while they still can.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Williams – who has not played competitively since losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon last year – has been handed a singles wildcard to compete at the year's tournament, which begins later this month. 

Williams, now aged 40 and ranked 1,208th in the world, has won seven singles titles at Wimbledon, the last of which came in 2016, and 23 grand slams in total.

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."

Lionel Messi was likened to Rafael Nadal by Lionel Scaloni after scoring all five of Argentina's goals in a 5-0 friendly rout of Estonia on Sunday.

Barcelona legend Messi moved to 86 international goals, two more than Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas, now leaving him fourth on the all-time men's list.

Messi's exploits occurred on the same day as tennis legend Rafael Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets to win a 14th French Open title and extend his record for most men's grand slam titles to 22.

For Argentina boss Scaloni, there are simply no more superlatives left for him to describe either man's seismic impact on the world of sports.

"I don't know what else to say. It's very difficult; it's like Rafa Nadal, what are you going to say?" Scaloni told TVP.

"It is preferable that the journalists speak, that they speak. You have no words left to describe it, and above all, for everything it generates."

The result saw Argentina extend their unbeaten run to 33 matches, fine form just five months out from the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

Messi had completed his hat-trick early in the second half before scoring twice more in the final 20 minutes.

Scaloni added of his talisman: "He is something unique, and it is a pleasure to have him in this group. It is a pleasure to train him, the entire coaching staff. And it's a pleasure his behaviour and how he toasts to his shirt.

"We only have words of thanks. I don't think he's just the heritage of Argentina; he's the heritage of the world, of world football. The day he doesn't play anymore, we are going to miss him."

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."

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."

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