‘Rafael Nadal showed his immense love for sport,’ says top coach

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The Miami Open presented by Itaú comes to a close on Sunday and is set to come to an exciting climax as world number 8 Casper Ruud takes on #NextGenATP sensation Carlos Alcaraz at Hard Rock Stadium. [6] Casper Ruud (NOR) against. [14] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz had something in common when they arrived in Miami two weeks ago: neither knew what it was like to win a match at the ATP Masters 1000 in South Florida.

Five wins later and having dropped just one set apiece en route to Sunday’s final, both players have rectified that record in spectacular fashion. On Sunday, they each have the opportunity to cap off a dream career in Miami by winning a first Masters 1000 crown.

After losing his three previous Masters 1000 semi-finals, all on his favorite clay, sixth-seeded Ruud smashed his hexagon in style on Friday with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo . The Norwegian’s crisp shots on both sides look set for Miami’s hard courts, albeit the world number one.

8 admits he’s still pleasantly surprised with his progress at Hard Rock Stadium. “It was not where I imagined playing my first Masters 1000 final [on a hard court]but I accept the challenge,” Ruud said after beating Cerúndolo.

“It’s a great feeling and I’m enjoying the city and the tournament. It was brutal today. A very humid climate, which made breathing a little difficult”. Of Ruud’s nine ATP Tour finals to date, eight have been on clay.

Rafael Nadal suffered a stress fracture in his ribs during the recently concluded Indian Wells Masters as he faced Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

Rafa has won three tournaments in 2022

Canadian tennis coach Rob Steckley hailed Rafael Nadal’s inflexible attitude in a recent podcast, stressing that no barrier is big enough to stop the Spaniard from playing tennis.

“Nadal, this guy (laughs), he looks like he’s falling apart but he never leaves us,” Steckley said. “When I was coaching Denis (Shapovalov), we were always talking about when this guy was going to quit tennis.”

But according to him, the fact that the 35-year-old still leaves his heart and soul on the pitch shows his immense love for sport and competition. “And it’s this guy who literally – there’s nothing else for this guy that you know.

He’s got the most money in the world, he’s got everything,” Steckley added. “And yet this guy will do it, even with one leg, he’ll still try to compete and do what he does, so it is also admirable and courageous.”

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