Rafa Nadal boosts hopes of tennis return after making South American vow to Casper Ruud


Rafael Nadal has revealed that he is planning on facing Casper Ruud when he returns to action in November in a repeat of their French Open final meeting earlier this year. Nadal played in the Laver Cup at the end of September after crashing out of the US Open at the hands of Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round and is poised to feature in an exhibition tour across South America before the end of this year.

The tour is set to get underway in Buenos Aires on November 21 and it seems as though Ruud, who lost to Nadal in the final at Roland Garros back in June, will get an opportunity to exact revenge over Nadal by playing not one, but several matches against him in the not-too-distant future. Ruud announced that he will be joining Nadal on the tour via Instagram on Friday by posting a short video clip in which the Spaniard promised to face him in no less than five South American cities over the course of the event.

“Well, let me think,” Nadal told Ruud after he was asked if a potential rematch could be on the cards. “Well, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to play a rematch in Buenos Aires. If you win I owe you a barbecue.

“I tell you what, we’ll do five rematches. One in Buenos Aires, Bogota, Quinto, Belo Horizonte, Mexico City. Is that enough or not?”

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Ruud was more than happy to take Nadal up on his generous offer, with the Norwegian hopeful replying: “Very good, thanks a lot!”

Nadal dominated Ruud in their last competitive meeting at the French Open, in which he managed to clinch his 22nd career Grand Slam title shortly after celebrating his 36th birthday. He was able to finish the job in straight sets by putting his clay-court expertise to good use at the expense of Ruud, who went on to taste defeat again in the final of the US Open to Carlos Alcaraz in early September.

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The news of Ruud joining Nadal’s exhibition tour in South America comes just weeks after the Manacor native hinted at an extended break from competitive tennis in the aftermath of his fourth-round defeat at Flushing Meadows, with Tiafoe upsetting the odds to condemn his legendary opponent to a premature exit.

“For some reason, I don’t know, mental issues in terms of a lot of things that happened the last couple of months, maybe,” Nadal told reporters when quizzed on what went wrong against Tiafoe.

“I need to go back. I need to fix things, life, then I don’t know when I’m going to come back. I’m going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there.”

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