Unseeded Rafael Nadal handed a tough opponent test in first round of French Open

Ranked No 276 in the world, Nadal is unseeded at Roland Garros for the first time, entering with a protected ranking, meaning he was always vulnerable to facing a top seed early on. He has endured a difficult 18 months, struggling with various injuries that have forced him to spend most of his time away from the tour.

Although Nadal has an incredible 112-3 (97.4%) record at Roland Garros—an unheard-of degree of dominance at a single event—he hasn’t participated here since winning the 2022 edition. Nadal has never lost in Roland Garros’ opening round, but he has also never played without earning one of the top five seeds.

Zverev is in excellent condition after winning the Italian Open in Rome last week, but on May 31, a public trial in Berlin will get underway. Following claims that he physically abused his ex-girlfriend Brenda Patea and “damaged her health” during an argument in Berlin in May 2020, he has challenged a punishment order. He has consistently refuted the accusations.

Left to right: Caroline Garcia, Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko and Katie Boulter.

Zverev has stated in Rome that he will not attend the trial, but if the judge gives him a week’s notice, he may be summoned to present. It is planned to happen on two dates in addition to June 7th during the French Open, and then on July 5th and 12th during Wimbledon. There are eight dates set for the total.

Prior to the clay court season, Nadal had only participated in one tournament this year, and he was rather unsure of his physical condition when he returned to action in Barcelona. He’s finally been able to enjoy a run of weeks on the court in recent weeks.

However, the outcomes have been uneven. Nadal was in disarray in Rome after making good progress in Madrid, where he advanced to the fourth round, losing to Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Rafael Nadal would love to keep participating, even though he has stated that this is likely his last season on the tour owing to his body.

Along with a highly publicized first-round draw, Andy Murray will also be facing off against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka. The match between the two three-time grand slam champions will be a rematch of their 2020 Roland Garros first-round match, which was Murray’s last Paris competition. Murray is 37 years old.

Murray will face Wawrinka, 39, for the third time in a row at Roland Garros after Murray was defeated by the 2015 winner in the 2017 semi-final. In the second round, the victor will take against the 32nd seed and ranked British player, Cameron Norrie.

The defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic will take the court first against Pierre-Hugues Herbert. In the 37-year-old Djokovic’s section, Zverev and Nadal are drawn, and Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner show up following medical withdrawals from Rome due to injury.

Dan Evans will play the 13th seed Holger Rune in his tournament opener, while Jack Draper will play a qualifier and maybe Alcaraz in the second round.

Important matches have also been created in the early rounds by the women’s draw. The two most successful players in the women’s draw, both four-time grand slam champions, could face off in the second round against Iga Swiatek, the world No. 1 and reigning champion. Swiatek, who has won in Madrid and Rome, will take on a qualifier to start her title defense in Paris, while Osaka will take on Lucia Bronzetti.

While Aryna Sabalenka, the second seed, and Elena Rybakina, the fourth seed, dominate the lower half of the draw, third seed Coco Gauff has found herself in Swiatek’s half as the top four players continue to set themselves apart from the rest of the field. Sabalenka, who lost to Swiatek in the Madrid and Rome finals, will take on Erika Andreeva.

The British No. 1 Katie Boulter, seeded 26th, will take on the former world No. 2 Paula Badosa in her very difficult opening match in her debut main draw outing. The 27th seed Linda Noskova will square up against Harriet Dart.

Stan Wawrinka consoles Andy Murray after the semi-final of the 2017 French Open.

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