Home Sports Nadal Unlikely to Return to French Open After First-Round Loss.

Nadal Unlikely to Return to French Open After First-Round Loss.

"There's a big chance I will not be back here, but I'm not 100% sure. I hope to return to this court for the Olympics—that motivates me," he said.

by Jamsheera
Rafael Nadal Retired

Rafael Nadal, possibly playing his final French Open, exited to an outpouring of love and support after a first-round defeat by Alexander Zverev. Despite the loss, he expressed his wish to return to Roland Garros for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“I hope to see you again, but I don’t know,” Nadal told the ecstatic crowd after his straight-sets loss on Monday.

The French, known for arriving at Court Philippe Chatrier fashionably late after a leisurely lunch, skipped their coffee and digestif to fill the arena before the king, racquet in hand, stepped onto the court to deafening roars.

Spain’s Nadal adhered to his routine, avoiding the lines and crossing them with his right foot, sprinting to the baseline during warm-up, and positioning his two bottles diagonally aimed at the court.

On a rainy day in Paris, the organizers closed the roof, enhancing the intimacy of the moment.

On a court he knows better than anyone, Nadal struggled to find his rhythm early on, netting a routine drop shot and serving a double fault to give Zverev the opening game.

The German, fresh off his Rome Masters win, proved to be a tough opponent for Nadal, maintaining pressure to take the first set. Despite this, the Mallorcan showed glimpses of his best with a couple of spinning forehand winners down the line.

However, once Zverev eased the pressure, Nadal seized the opportunity, converting his first break point to take a 3-2 lead in the second set.

“Rafa! Rafa!” chanted the crowd as world number ones Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic, along with fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, joined the party.

Nadal served for the second set, but Zverev leveled and forced a tiebreak, which he comfortably won.

Nadal managed another break in the third set and celebrated with some ‘I-can-still-do-it’ fist pumps after a few jaw-dropping winners. However, two years after Zverev had to leave their semifinal match in a wheelchair with a broken foot, the German was too strong this time.

Meanwhile, Coco Gauff made a strong start, dispatching German Julia Avdeeva 6-1, 6-1 for her 50th Grand Slam match victory. The 20-year-old American, who won the US Open last year, is aiming for her first French Open title after losing the 2022 final in Paris.

Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner began his title pursuit with a confident 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Wimbledon quarterfinalist Christopher Eubanks. The Italian second seed, recovering from a hip injury that kept him out of the Madrid and Rome Opens, will face French veteran Richard Gasquet in the second round. “The hip is good, I’m very happy,” said Sinner.

Former finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-1. Marketa Vondrousova, also a former Roland Garros runner-up and the reigning Wimbledon champion, eased past Rebeka Masarova of Spain in straight sets. Tunisian eighth seed Ons Jabeur booked her place in round two with a comfortable win over US wildcard Sachia Vickery.

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More