Rafael Nadal Academy graduate Casper Ruud will get a chance to take on his 'idol' in the final of the French Open after overcoming Marin Cilic in the semis.
Ruud was a student at Nadal's Mallorca Academy when he was younger, before he went on the establish himself in the ATP top ten.
On Sunday he will become a Grand Slam finalist too, and potentially a major winner when he takes on Rafael Nadal, who is chasing his 14th Roland Garros crown.
"Looking up to Rafa, the player I’m going to play in the final, he never complains," Ruud said after his semi-final.
"He’s a perfect example of how you should be on court, never give up, never complain. He’s been my idol for all my life.
"It’s amazing, he’s the last player of the big three of the top players in the world I have never played against. This is perfect timing and worth the wait.
"To play him in the Grand Slam final will be a special moment for me, and hopefully for him - he’s going to be playing a student from his academy. It’s going to be a fun one."
Marin Cilic won the opening set against Casper Ruud in the semi-final and the Croatian appeared to be well on his way to completing the set of Grand Slam finals early on.
However, Ruud is one of the top clay-courters in the world and he showed why he has that reputation as he battled back to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
"It was a great match from my side," Ruud said. "I didn’t start the greatest.
"I was too defensive and I was able to break him in the second set and that got me going, and then I played some of my best tennis. Super happy with the performance today.
"I think Marin is usually the one playing very fast and very hard, and that was the feeling I got.
"I figured I needed to step up and counterattack and go for some faster shots, and it worked. I changed a little bit but I also raised my level."
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