'When you're not seeded, anything can happen': Rafael Nadal unperturbed by French Open 2024 opener vs Alexander Zverev | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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'When you're not seeded, anything can happen': Rafael Nadal unperturbed by French Open 2024 opener vs Alexander Zverev

May 26, 2024 01:22 PM IST

Rafael Nadal appeared unperturbed ahead of his French Open 2024 blockbuster opener vs Alexander Zverev.

Rafael Nadal will begin his French Open 2024 campaign against Alexander Zverev on Monday, in what is probably his final Roland Garros campaign. Nadal, a 14-time French Open champion, has featured in only four tournaments since January 2023.

Rafael Nadal holds a press conference during the French Open.(AFP)
Rafael Nadal holds a press conference during the French Open.(AFP)

Going into his French Open opener, he boasts a 7-3 win record vs Zverev, and also beat the German in the 2022 semifinal. But this year, both have been in contrasting forms. Zverev is entering the French Open with his recent win at the Italian Open and he also became World No. 4. Meanwhile, Nadal has had fourth-round and second-round finishes at the Madrid Open and Italian Open. He is also currently ranked at World No. 276.

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Speaking on his Roland Garros opener, Nadal said, "At some point somebody told me the draw. I mean, the reaction is something that I expected in some way. When you’re not seeded, anything can happen. That’s part of the business."

Meanwhile, Zverev revealed that he would have preferred to face the Spanish legend at a later stage in the tournament. "Ideally I would have liked to play him in at a later stage of the tournament um but it is how it is now. He is unseeded this year, I am seeded. It's a tough draw but it's a tough draw for both of us and we'll see how it goes," he said.

Their 2022 French Open semi-final meet was interesting. Zverev had high hopes of becoming only the third player to ever beat Nadal at Roland garros. Nadal clinched a marathon first set after Zverev threw away a 6-2 lead in the tie-break. After more than three hours on court, Zverev sustained a nasty ankle injury while attempting a wide forehand which levelled the second set at 6-6. He had to leave the court in a wheelchair, and Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in the final.

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