Rafael Nadal draws nightmare match-up in first round of the French Open

Nadal might have a very difficult time getting out of the first round in what will likely be his final French Open.
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Rafael Nadal is likely playing his final year of professional tennis. He has not made an official announcement yet, but he has heavily hinted that he will be done by 2025. One of his hopes was probably to do well at the French Open, an event he has won an astonishing 14 times, and the Olympics.

But on Thursday, Nadal learned that his beginning to Roland Garros might be his worst nightmare.

Nadal is capable of beating anyone on the clay in Paris, of course. He might still have been one of the favorites in 2024 even after missing all of 2023, including Roland Garros. Nadal simply has not been able to stay healthy enough to play as many tournaments as he likely wished, and he has not made extremely deep runs at any event.

Rafael Nadal draws Alexander Zverev in first round of the French Open

Now, odds are that he will not make it out of the first round of what could be his final French Open. When the Grand Slam announced its draw on Thursday, Nadal was matched up with Alexander Zverev. Zverev is not only the ATP No. 4, but he is a fantastic clay court player and fresh off a victory at the Italian Open.

In other words, not only is Zverev a consistently good player, but he is also playing peak form. Nadal might be performing at 50 percent of his top form. The match might not only go Zverev's way, but the final score might not be close.

Few want Rafael Nadal to lose in his final run at Roland Garros, but no one wants him to be bounced out in the first round with an ugly score. Quite likely, both of those last bits are going to happen. Zverev and Nadal have played each other ten times, but not at all since 2022. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 7-3 but he also won the first five matches before Zverev won three straight match-ups with one of those coming on clay.

Everything you need to know about the 2024 French Open. dark. Next. Everything about the French Open

Another interesting match announced as part of the draw was Andy Murray, also probably playing his final year on the ATP tour, who will play Stan Wawrinka. Either player losing is not going to be fun to watch.

Jannik Sinner, a player who will probably take over ATP No. 1 after the French Open, will take on American Christopher Eubanks. Top seed Novak Djokovic will play Pierre-Huques Herbert. Third-seeded Carlos Alcaraz will take on a qualifier.

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