Home Editor Picks Rafael Nadal gets brutal French Open draw as Djokovic and Murray learn fate

Rafael Nadal gets brutal French Open draw as Djokovic and Murray learn fate

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Rafael Nadal gets brutal French Open draw as Djokovic and Murray learn fate

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Rafael Nadal has received a brutal draw at the French Open after entering the tournament unseeded for the first time in his career. The 14-time champion will open against No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev.

Andy Murray is also in for a big challenge as he returns to Roland Garros for the first time in four years. The former world No. 1 will face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will begin his title defence against French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

There were audible gasps in the room when Nadal’s draw was announced at the French Open on Thursday. The ‘King of Clay’ has only lost three matches in his career at Roland Garros. But the 14-time champion will have it very tough if he wants to get through the first round in his return to the Parisian clay courts as he faces Zverev. The German comes into the tournament off the back of winning the Italian Open and is on a six-match winning streak.

The world No. 4 has also reached the semi-final at the last three editions of the French Open, including in 2022 when he injured his ankle while facing Nadal. It took three hours for them to reach 6-6 in the second set after Nadal took the first. But Zverev fell and snapped several ligaments in his ankle.

He was taken off the court in a wheelchair and returned on crutches to retire. Zverev was sidelined for the rest of the 2022 season. But he will now be the favourite going into his blockbuster first-round clash with Nadal, who has spent the better part of the last 18 months sidelined by injuries and suffered a one-sided loss to Hubert Hurkacz in Rome.

Zverev will face trial during the French Open for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend. The trial begins on May 31 and Zverev does not have to appear in person. Last October a Berlin court issued a penalty order and fined £383,000 (€450,000) over the accusations. Zverev denies all allegations and contested the ruling which resulted in the case going to trial.

Meanwhile, Murray will face Wawrinka for the third straight match at the French Open. The Brit has not played in the tournament since 2020, where he also took on the Swiss star in the opening round and lost.

Before that, his last Roland Garros match was the 2017 semi-final, where he also lost to Wawrinka. It was a match that all but physically destroyed them. Both men ended their seasons after Wimbledon and have never returned to the top 10 or won another Grand Slam since.

Meanwhile, Djokovic will face Herbert to begin his title defence in Paris. The world No. 1 is currently in Geneva getting some extra matches in after a disappointing start to the year by his standards.

He is in the same quarter of the draw as two-time finalist Casper Ruud and the same half as Zverev and Nadal. Second seed Jannik Sinner opens against Christopher Eubanks while world No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz will take on a qualifier or lucky loser.

On the women’s side, defending champion Iga Swiatek will face a qualifier or lucky loser but could come up against fellow four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka in the second round.

As for the Brits, Jack Draper opens against a qualifier but could face Alcaraz in the second round. Dan Evans takes on 13th seed and Cameron Norrie faces Pavel Kotov in the first round. Katie Boulter has Paula Badosa in her first match while Harriet Dart will take on Linda Noskova.

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