Rafael Nadal to face Alexander Zverev in blockbuster opening match of farewell French Open


Rafael Nadal to face Alexander Zverev in blockbuster opening match of farewell French Open

Nadal enters the French open unseeded this year
Nadal enters the French open unseeded this yearAFP
Rafael Nadal (37) was drawn to face world number four Alexander Zverev (27) in a blockbuster opening match at his farewell French Open tournament on Thursday.

Nadal, the record 14-time champion at Roland Garros, is unseeded this year after injury saw his ranking plummet to 276.

He and Zverev met in the semi-finals of the French Open in 2022 when the German was forced to retire after suffering a serious ankle injury.

Nadal, the winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, will turn 38 next week and this season will be his last on tour.

He holds a 7-3 winning head-to-head record against Germany's Zverev with five of those victories coming on clay.

Zverev arrives in Paris on the back of lifting the Rome Open title last weekend.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for a 25th Grand Slam crown against local hope Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Djokovic has struggled in the first half of 2024 and is yet to win a title this year. The Serbian was knocked out of the Italian Open in the third round this month after suffering a freak head injury.

The world number one, who is competing in this week's Geneva Open, will be looking to put that disappointment behind him and get his season back on track in Paris, where he could meet Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals in a rematch of last year's final.

Two-times Grand Slam champion and last year's losing semi-finalist Carlos Alcaraz begins against a qualifier, while newly-crowned Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner faces American Christopher Eubanks.

Swiatek and Osaka in potential second-round clash

Defending champion Iga Swiatek and fellow four-time Grand Slam title winner Naomi Osaka could clash in the French Open second round after the draw was made on Thursday.

Top seed and world number one Swiatek will take on a qualifier in her opener with Osaka facing Lucia Bronzetti of Italy in her first-round tie.

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

"It feels like home here," said Swiatek who arrives at the tournament with clay-court titles in Madrid and Rome under her belt.

"I have been working hard to play at a high level."

Former world number one Osaka, now ranked 134, has never got past the third round in Paris.

Bronzetti, the world number 48, has yet to win a main draw match at Roland Garros in two visits.

Osaka, 26, has endured a bittersweet relationship with the French Open.

In 2021, she was fined for opting out of mandatory media commitments before withdrawing from the competition after just one match insisting she was protecting her mental health.

Osaka missed the 2023 edition due to being pregnant before giving birth to a baby girl in July.

Swiatek, meanwhile, is bidding to become the first player to lift three successive women's titles in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007.

The 22-year-old Pole is also aiming to join Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Henin in lifting the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen four times in the Open era.

World number two Aryna Sabalenka meets Erika Andreeva while Elena Rybakina, who reached the semi-finals in Madrid but was forced to pull out of Rome due to illness, takes on Belgium's Greet Minnen.

US Open champion Coco Gauff, who reached the final of the French Open in 2022, will play a qualifier in the first round and could face Ons Jabeur in a mouth-watering quarter-final clash.


France gouvernement

Les jeux d’argent et de hasard peuvent être dangereux : pertes d’argent, conflits familiaux, addiction…

Retrouvez nos conseils sur joueurs-info-service.fr (09-74-75-13-13, appel non surtaxé)

Do you want to withdraw your consent to display betting ads?
Yes, change settings