Casper Ruud is not oblivious. He knows the steep climb that lies ahead of him in the 2023 French Open Final Sunday. The Norwegian native has been on this stage before with historic implications on the line.

Ruud will vie for his first major title against the ageless Novak Djokovic, one year after falling to clay court savant Rafael Nadal in his first ever Grand Slam final. A lot has changed in the landscape of the sport since then, but the 24-year-old remains a huge long shot. But he knows that, and is embracing it.

“It's going to be tough, last year was against Rafa, this year against Novak. What can you say?” Ruud said after vanquishing Alexander Zverev in straight sets. “It's two of the toughest players in the history, so I'm just going to be the underdog like today. Play without too many feelings and just try to enjoy. Smile as much as I can.”

Just like in 2022, all of the focus will be on the history Casper Ruud's opponent is chasing. Djokovic is currently tied with Nadal for most majors of all-time with 22. Despite many tennis fans and players already anointing the Serb as the GOAT, this would be the first time he has had the sole lead in Grand Slam titles. It would feel like a true coronation.

But Ruud wants his own crown. He mowed through the more battle-tested Zverev with ease and is looking as composed as ever. Few things can compare to sharing Roland Garros with Rafael Nadal. He did that. This new pressure should not faze him in the French Open Final

No, his problem will just be outlasting one of the best athletes of our time.