Hard test: Rafel Nadal will open Roland Garros against world number 4, Alexander Zverev – La Opinion

Hard test: Rafel Nadal will open Roland Garros against world number 4, Alexander Zverev – La Opinion

This Thursday at lottery of male and female paintings for Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal14-time champion on the Paris clay, He came out paired with a very tough opponent in the first round: world number 4, Alexander Zverevin addition to other interesting crossings that we tell you about here.

Nadal, champion of 22 Grand Slam tournaments but who has barely played since his title at Roland Garros in 2022 due to injuries, will initially have to face one of the fittest players on the circuit, who has also won the Masters 1000 in Rome.

My hand could have been kinder to Nadal, right? When I heard the ‘wow’ from the room, I said to myself: ‘oh, shit’”, smiled the person in charge of determining the chance in the draw this Thursday, the French Marie-Jose Perecicon of French sports in the 1990s and three-time Olympic champion in athletics.

The French athlete Marie-Jose Perec was the special guest at the draw.
The French athlete Marie-Jose Perec was the special guest at the draw.
Credit: Dino García | Courtesy

Nadal, who is about to turn 38, has been battling his body in recent seasons. This 2024 seemed almost like a ‘farewell tour’ for him and being in the best condition at Roland Garros has been his priority.

After almost a year of absence he reappeared in January in Brisbane, where he was injured again. He then missed the Australian Open, Doha, Indian Wells and Monte Carlo.

In the other European clay court tournaments they lost in the second round in Barcelona, ​​in the round of 16 in Madrid and in the second round in Rome.

Since the beginning of the week, Nadal has been training at Roland Garros looking for a perfect set-up for the tournament, after having been swept off the court in Rome by the Polish Hubert Hurkacz (6-1, 6-3).

Rafael Nadal had a session of 1 hour and forty-five minutes on the Philippe-Chatrier court.
Rafael Nadal had a 1 hour and 45 minute session on Court Philippe-Chatrier in his first training session.
Credit: Dino García | Courtesy

In this week’s practices in Paris he has been measuring his strength against the American Sebastian Korda, the Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka and the Russian world number 5 Daniil Medvedev, who does not exactly have clay as his favorite surface.

But Zverev is a challenge of another level and the result of the draw made it clear that Nadal will not have any ‘warm-up round’ and that needs to respond as much as possible from day one.

For Zverev it will also have a certain aroma of revenge: it was against Nadal, in 2022, in the middle of the Roland Garros semi-final, where he suffered an ankle injury that made him abandon and that caused him problems later, for months, to regain his form.

“I imagine that, seeing the draw, he is not going to be happy. Sasha [Zverev] “He is in very good shape, so it is very complicated,” said the tournament director, former French world number one Amelie Mauresmo. “But she is Rafa, anything is possible,” she noted.

Other crossovers and the theory about the semifinals after the draw

In a very open edition in the men’s boxthe theoretical semifinals would face the Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic with Zverev on one side, and the Italian Jannik Sinner (2) and the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz (3) on the other.

That is, Djokovic avoided Alcaraz in the draw and they could only meet in an eventual final. Last year the Serbian was the Spaniard’s executioner in the semifinals.

Djokovic’s form is the other big unknown since he has not yet played in a final this year. In his last big event, in Rome, he was defeated by the Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

Djokovic will start in the first round against a Frenchman with a ‘wild card’ (invitation), Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Alcaraz will debut against a rival from the previous phase and Sinner against the American Christopher Eubanks (43).

Carlos Alcáraz during training on the central court at Roland Garros.
Carlos Alcáraz during training on the center court at Roland Garros.
Credit: Dino García | Courtesy

The first round will also have a very attractive clash between two veteran stars who have fallen in the rankings, the British Andy Murray (38 years old) and the Swiss Stan Wawrinka (39 years).

The women’s draw with Iga Swiatek as the favorite

In the women’s draw, the world number one favorite, the Polish Iga Swiatekwill aspire to a fourth title at Roland Garros and the third in a row.

The recent champion in Madrid and Rome would have a hypothetical semifinal against the American Coco Gauff (3), while on the side of the box dThe Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (2) was left for an eventual semi-final by the Kazakh Elena Rybakina (4).

“Swiatek dominated the season on clay and has just achieved the Madrid-Rome double. It is very impressive,” Mauresmo admitted.

*With information from EFE.

Keep reading:
· Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal summons thousands of fans during his first training in Paris
· Rafael Nadal will not play the Australian Open; the historic Spanish tennis player retires due to injury
· Rafael Nadal withdraws from Indian Wells due to injury: What could be the next tournament he plays?
· Rafael Nadal falls in Rome and questions his participation in Roland Garros

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