Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud final preview, how to watch, live stream, ultimate guide, retirement updates, news

Sam Groth believes a 14th Roland-Garros title could spur Rafael Nadal on for the remainder of the season amid rampant retirement rumours surrounding the Spaniard.

Nadal is aiming to extend his lead atop of the men’s grand slam singles titles list when he faces No.8 seed Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday night. A win would see him record the 22nd grand slam singles title of his illustrious career.

The Spaniard turned 36 this week and has dealt with foot issues for the best part of the last 12 months before returning to claim a miraculous Australian Open title earlier this year.

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However, Nadal fuelled rumours that he might pull the plug on his career at the end of this tournament after beating No.1 seed Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final last week.

Nadal has seemingly poured water on retirement rumours since, telling Eurosport that he plans to be at Roland-Garros next season, and Groth also refused to rule out a return.

“We know his foot is no good, by all accounts the bone is actually disintegrating in there, so there’s not too many options for him in terms of surgery,” he told Nine’s Sports Sunday.

“At 36, to come back from an extended break is going to be very, very difficult. I think if he wins, we see him at Wimbledon. You can’t win the first two majors of the year and not continue onto Wimbledon and then the US Open.

“He’s obviously still close to the best player in the world at grand slam level. Will we see him at Roland-Garros again? If the foot is as bad as we all think, maybe the right way to go out is going out on top of the game and winning number 14.”

Incredibly, the clash between Nadal and Ruud will be the first of their respective careers.

Ruud’s run to the final has seen him take down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Emil Ruusuvuori, Lorenzo Sonego, Hubert Hurkacz, Holger Rune and Marin Cilic.

Nadal’s run has seen him overcome a little more starpower. The Spanish star has taken down Jordan Thompson, Corentin Moutet, Botic van de Zandschulp, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.

Watch Roland-Garros on 9Gem and 9Now or every match, ad-free, live and on demand with courts in 4K, on Stan Sport

So amazing is Nadal’s longevity, Ruud was just six years old when the Spaniard downed Mariano Puerta to claim his very first grand slam title at Roland-Garros in 2005.

The men’s singles final will get underway at 11pm AEST on Sunday night, with coverage of the match commencing at 10:30pm on 9Gem.

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