Watch Rafael Nadal ‘win French Open before taking the court’ in incredible footage from Netflix’s Break Point | The Sun
RAFAEL NADAL has been compared to a Roman Gladiator after amazing footage shows him "winning the French Open before taking the court".
The legend notched a record 14th Roland Garros title last year following an intimidating tunnel warm-up against Casper Ruud – captured by Netflix's Break Point series.
Tennis fans on social media reacted with awe to the clip showing the Spaniard dancing opposite Ruud, practicing big shots and even doing a shuttle run past the Norwegian.
In contrast, Ruud looks "awkward" as he shuffles around, fidgets and appears distracted as he glances sideways.
One observer said of the scene: "Walking into a Gladiator arena in 100 BC…. only one of those men are coming out alive…. and we know which one it is."
Another posted: "This is art. The mind games!!!"
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And one tennis follower suggested Nadal's imperious routine gave a huge insight into how modern giants of the game have put lesser mortals in their place for so long.
He wrote: "Said many times Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Serena have won many grand slam finals against lesser opposition even before they stepped foot on court."
But others claimed the clip would have been seen very differently had the 22-time Grand Slam winner been defeated.
This post summed up that view: "Funny thing is if Nadal had lost this game you woulda tweeted that the other guy won before they even take the court, coz he stayed calm and collected despite Nadal's antics."
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And a few fans questioned the icon's tactics.
One said: "Does he need to do this? If he's the better player he'd more than likely win anyway."
Certainly, Nadal looked hungry, focused, physically powerful and champing at the bit – whereas Ruud's appearance was reflected in his performance on the court.
Last year's eighth seed was wiped away 6-3 6-3 6-0 and lost the last 11 games.
Nadal, meanwhile, has rarely looked more comfortable as he became the French Open's oldest ever winner – two days after his 36th birthday.
He is currently targeting a 23rd major title in the Australian Open, beating Jack Draper 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1 in round one after the Brit suffered cramp.
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