WATCH: Ruud spoke to press after his four-set semifinal victory over Marin Cilic in Paris.


They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, which puts Casper Ruud at a distinct advantage as he prepares to play spoiler in Rafael Nadal’s 14th Roland Garros final.

The 23-year-old will play his first after outlasting former US Open champion Marin Cilic in four sets on Friday, and the Rafael Nadal Academy alum has kept a keen eye on his idol’s competition over the years:

Q. How many of those 13 wins for Rafa have you actually watched?

CASPER RUUD: Probably all of them! I think I could probably tell you all the finals and who he has played and who he has beaten, because I watched them all on TV.

It's gonna be amazing to be there myself when you have seen players like, start with Puerta, Federer, Djokovic, Thiem, Wawrinka, all the guys who have played him in a finals. So, to be a part of that group myself is something I can always brag about after my career.

Ruud had never been past the fourth round of a major tournament before this tournament, having missed this year’s Australian Open due to injury, and though he looked to be a dark horse at last year’s Roland Garros, he suffered a third-round defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina just before the second week.

The No. 8 seed rides a 10-match winning streak into Sunday’s final after defending his Geneva title, and has won 13 of his last 14 matches since reaching the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final.

Will that be enough to make his own history against Rafa in the final? Should he pull off the upset, there will likely be a junior watching and waiting to make his own mark against Ruud in the years to come.