Rafael Nadal’s brutal first spherical French Open nightmare

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Rafael Nadal is dealing with a brutal check within the first spherical of what’s shaping to be his last French Open event, drawing world No. 4 Alexander Zverev within the first spherical

Nadal has gained the event 14 occasions from 18 makes an attempt with an insane 112-3 document (he didn’t lose in 2016, as a substitute withdrawing resulting from a wrist damage).

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No participant has a greater document at any single grand slam than Nadal, having not been defeated sooner than the fourth spherical in his profession at Roland Garros.

However that document can be examined as Nadal goes up towards Zverev for the primary time for the reason that 2022 French Open semi-final.

That match led to tears for the German after he tore ligaments in his ankle within the second set of the match.

Nadal is unseeded at this 12 months’s French Open, along with his rating having plummeted to No. 276 on the planet.

Nadal, a 22-time grand slam winner, will flip 38 subsequent week with this season shaping as his final on the tour as he has not often performed this 12 months.

After an damage in Brisbane, Nadal solely returned in April, enjoying in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome as preparation for the French Open.

Talking after his Rome exit final week, Nadal confirmed he was going to play the French.

“I’m going to play the event pondering that I can provide my all, 100 per cent,” Nadal defined.

“And if 100 per cent is just not sufficient to win a match, I’ll settle for that. However I don’t need to step onto court docket figuring out that I’ve no probability. If there’s a 0.01 per cent probability, I need to discover that and provides it a go.”

Nadal holds a 7-3 successful head-to-head document towards Zverev with 5 of these victories approaching clay.

The 27-year-old Zverev arrives in Paris having gained in Rome final week.

Talking Eurosport, former world No. 2 Alex Corretja stated Nadal had nothing to show.

“All people is hoping that he’s going to be wholesome and that we all know that he’s preparing,” he stated.

“He’s been practising on Chatrier to check himself and I believe he must let it go, simply go for every little thing he has.

“I believe it’s troublesome to speak from the surface, however I hope that he can simply go there and simply do no matter he can.

“I’m not anticipating something, it’s simply go play and no matter comes goes to be a present.

“He doesn’t have to show anything. Not even to himself, not even to the entire world.

“So if he is ready to be there and play one match, two matches, three matches, each match, each time he jumps on court docket he can be given the popularity he deserves.

“It’s going to be a celebration. It’s going to be one thing unbelievable and the group goes to be loopy with him.

“That’s why we’d like Rafa within the event. I believe it’s going to be a serious factor to have him in Roland-Garros this 12 months.”

Aussies in motion

There are many Aussies in the principle draw on the French Open, headlined by eleventh seed Alex de Minaur, who will face American world No. 65 Alex Michelsen.

It’s been a promising draw for the Aussies with Chris O’Connell and Max Purcell touchdown qualifiers within the first spherical.

Rinky Hijikata may face Nadal within the third spherical, however has to get previous world No. 47 Italian Luciano Darderi within the first.

Aussie wildcard Adam Walton will face Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, whereas Aleksandar Vukic faces China’s Zhizhen Zhang and Jordan Thompson will face German Maximilian Marterer.

And an Aussie will make the second spherical with Alexei Popyrin and Thanasi Kokkinakis dealing with off within the opening spherical.

Within the girls’s draw, Aussie wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic faces a tricky first spherical opponent in thirtieth seed Dayana Yastremska and will face third seed Coco Gauff if each girls could make the third spherical.

Daria Saville faces twelfth seed Italian Jasmine Paolini.

Different huge match ups

In different huge names, defending males’s champion and 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic will face French veteran Pierre Hugues-Herbert in his opener.

The Serb has but to win a title in 2024 with runs to the semi-finals on the Australian Open and Monte Carlo Masters his finest performances.

World quantity two Jannik Sinner, who took out the Australian Open title in January, faces Christopher Eubanks of the US.

Third-seeded Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, a semi-finalist in Paris in 2023, performs a qualifier.

2016 runner up Andy Murray will sort out 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in a battle of grizzled Grand Slam veterans.

Within the girls’s draw, prime seed and world primary Swiatek will tackle a qualifier with Naomi Osaka dealing with Lucia Bronzetti of Italy of their openers earlier than a possible second spherical conflict.

Swiatek is bidding to win a fifth main and fourth French Open title.

“It seems like dwelling right here,” stated Swiatek who arrives on the event with clay-court titles in Madrid and Rome below her belt.

World quantity two Aryna Sabalenka begins towards 101-ranked Erika Andreeva of Russia.

Third seed and US Open champion Coco Gauff faces a qualifier within the first spherical and is seeded to face Swiatek within the semi-finals.

With AFP

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