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Nadal handed tough Roland Garros first round draw

The Spaniard has been handed a massively tough draw as he is set to face fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

Rafael Nada, during training at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nada, during training at Roland Garros.EMMANUEL DUNANDAFP

Rafa Nadal’s Roland Garros return is set to start with a major hurdle for the Spaniard after Thursday’s first round draw pitted the 14-time tournament champion against No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev in the first round.

It will be the eleventh time that Nadal faces the 27-year-old German and current number 4 in the world with their Paris meeting set to their first game since meeting in the French capital during the 2022 semifinals, when the German was forced to retire with a serious injury in the tiebreaker of the second set.

Rafa’s roadmap to a hypothetical final would see him possibly facing Belgian David Goffin in the second round; Dutch player Tallon Griekspoor in the third; Danish Holger Rune in the quarterfinals; Medvedev in the quarterfinals and Serbian Djokovic in the semifinals, before a hypothetical final against Jannik Sinner.

Rafa Nadal
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Rafa Nadal José OlivaEuropa Press

Nadal’s last outing in Paris saw him beat Norwegian Casper Ruud in the final and secured the title despite suffering with chronic ankle pain. Times have changed and the man from Manacor offers a less threatening proposition for potential rivals and this 2024 Roland Garros could very well be the last time we see Nadal grace the famous Parisian court.