Casper Ruud says if there was one Rafael Nadal match he could change, it would be the Spaniard's 5h53 Australian Open 2012 final defeat to Novak Djokovic.
Ruud, a self-confessed fan of Nadal from his youth, is currently on a tour of South America with the 36-year-old, as the pair embark on a series of exhibition matches in various cities.
And when asked if there was one match of Nadal's that he could change, he didn't put forward the French Open final from this year - which he lost to Nadal in straight sets - but rather Nadal's slogfest with Djokovic from over a decade ago, which the Serbian took 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5), 7–5.
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Nadal and Djokovic have played each other a remarkable 59 times in one of the game's great rivalries, and that encounter in Melbourne - the longest in Grand Slam final history and one which saw the pair forced to sit down on chairs for the trophy presentation - is still one of their most talked-about.
Ruud, who was 13 at the time and watching on TV, said: “I think I can say for Rafa, I wish I could change one result in the history of tennis and I don’t know if he’ll be angry or happy for me saying this.
"It’s not the Roland Garros final this year because it was not a very close match but Rafa’s Australian Open loss in 2012 against Novak.

Djokovic Nadal exhausted 2012

Image credit: Getty Images

“I was probably even sadder than himself because that was watching six hours of TV and hoping Rafa would win and then it was probably one of the best matches ever.
“I think for days, I was still sad about the loss for him and I still wish today that he could have won.

Rafael Nadal (L) and Casper Ruud

Image credit: Getty Images

"This might bring back bad memories for him, but this is something I wish I could change and still believe.”
In response, Nadal joked: “You have to call Novak, to see if he wants to return the trophy.”
Nadal and Ruud played each other in the recent ATP Finals in Turin, a match won by Nadal to maintain a spotless head-to-head record against the Norwegian.
Djokovic took the season-ending title in Northern Italy - winning the final against Ruud - as all three players eye the Australian Open in January for their next tilt at Grand Slam success.
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