“It was the first time I have experienced [being] in this situation and play a Grand Slam final. I don't think it really got to me until I stepped on court today and saw the full stadium and felt the atmosphere in the crowd,” Ruud revealed.
“It was a little bit, honestly, a bit tough to find myself too comfortable in the situation in the beginning. As the match went on, I tended to feel a little bit better and I could calm down and breathe out a little bit more.
“But it was challenging because you are playing him, the most winning-slam player ever and on this court in the final… It's not too easy.”
Rafa might rule in Paris once again, but Ruud was still upbeat after the crushing defeat. The Norwegian will depart Paris with a newfound self-confidence in his abilities, and will debut at a new career-high world No.6 when the ATP rankings are unveiled on Monday.
More importantly, Ruud said, he’ll also walk away with unforgettable memories of a dream Roland-Garros final played against his greatest hero.
“Of course, I wish I could make the match closer and all these things,” he reflected. “But at the end of the day, I can hopefully one day tell my grandkids that I played Rafa on Chatrier in the final. They will probably say, ‘Wow, did you?’ I will say, ‘Yes’.
“I'm probably going to enjoy this moment for a long time.”