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Rafael Nadal: Fourteen-time champion suffers first spherical defeat to Alexander Zverev at French Open | Tennis Information

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Rafael Nadal misplaced within the first spherical of the French Open to Alexander Zverev 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in what may very well be his final match at Roland Garros.

It’s the first time in his lengthy and illustrious profession that Nadal has been crushed in two consecutive matches on clay courts and the primary time he has misplaced a match sooner than the fourth spherical on the French Open.

The 14-time champion, generally known as the ‘King of Clay’, was roared on by household, pals and rivals on the scene of his biggest triumphs.

Having returned to the event he skipped in 2023 and refused to verify any farewells forward of his opener, Nadal confirmed flashes of prime type once more on Courtroom Philippe Chatrier however the 37-year-old in the end went down combating.

Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

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14 titles

112 victories

4 defeats

19 profession Roland Garros appearances

96.5% wins

14 finals, 0 defeats

7 units misplaced in closing, 42 gained

Three 30+ win streaks

31 (2005-09), 33 (2017-21), 39 (2010-15)

Again for the Olympics?

Picture:
Nadal waved goodbye on Courtroom Philippe Chatrier following his first-round defeat however he may very well be again for the Paris Olympics

Nadal was persuaded afterwards by event director Amelie Mauresmo to say a number of phrases to the group.

“I do not know if it is gonna be my final time right here in entrance of you, not 100 per cent – however whether it is I loved it,” he stated.

“The sentiments that I’ve are tough to explain, it is so particular to really feel the love of the folks within the place I really like essentially the most.

“I’ve been going by a really robust two years when it comes to accidents and I went by a course of with the dream of being again at Roland Garros.

“The primary spherical was not the dream one however I used to be aggressive and had my probabilities. It is tough to say what is going on on sooner or later, an enormous share that I will not be again however I can say 100 per cent I’m having fun with taking part in and having enjoyable.

“Perhaps in two months I will say it is sufficient, but it surely’s one thing I do not need but and I need to be again on this court docket for the Olympics.

“I by no means may think about once I was a child that I’d be right here at nearly 38 with all of the success I had right here. I actually hope to see you once more – however I do not know.”

Victory meant Zverev grew to become solely the third man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, after Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling, with the German banishing recollections of his retirement on account of an ankle harm when the duo final met within the 2022 semi-finals.

Nadal, the 22-time Grand Slam champion who gained the Musketeers’ Cup for the primary time in 2005 and final raised the trophy in 2022 earlier than a severe hip harm derailed his profession, has beforehand stated this yr may very well be his closing one on the tour.

Stars in attendance

The seats behind the gamers’ bins have been full of present stars together with Carlos Alcaraz – Nadal’s inheritor obvious – long-time rival Novak Djokovic and ladies’s No 1 and three-time champion Iga Swiatek.

Additionally in attendance have been Nadal’s spouse Xisca, who not often watches his matches, child son Rafael Jr and uncles Toni – his former coach – and Miguel Angel, the ex-Spain footballer.

Manchester Metropolis midfielder Rodri, no stranger to titles himself, was one other well-known face within the crowd.

How Nadal went all the way down to defeat…

Germany's Alexander Zverev, left, kisses Spain's Rafael Nadal after winning the game during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Picture:
Zverev consoles Nadal on the web after ending what may very well be the Spaniard’s closing profession look at Roland Garros

Nadal was damaged by in-form Rome champion Zverev within the opening recreation and surrendered his serve once more late on to drop the primary set in unfavourable situations for him with the roof closed on account of heavy rain earlier.

Nadal made a Positive begin to the following set as he leapt and pumped his fists after holding for 2-2 and broke for the primary time with a fragile drop.

The gang started to sense a comeback as Nadal went forward 4-2 with some classic photographs on each flanks however the steely Zverev hit again within the tenth recreation and saved two break factors earlier than doubling his benefit by edging a high-octane tie-break.

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Sky Sports activities Tennis caught up with soccer icon Luis Figo on the Madrid Open, who hailed Nadal’s profession

Nadal surged to a 2-0 lead within the third set however squandered it as Zverev drew degree and dealt one other physique blow within the seventh recreation.

His celebrations have been low key as Nadal despatched a forehand extensive on match level, earlier than Chatrier rose, presumably for one final time, to salute their hero.

Nadal, who turns 38 on June 3, got here into the French Open unseeded for the primary time and noticed his profession document on the clay-court Grand Slam event fall to 112-4.

His three different losses got here in opposition to Soderling in 2010 and twice in opposition to Djokovic in 2015 and 2021.

“To be trustworthy, I do not know what to say. Initially: thanks, Rafa, from the entire tennis world,” Zverev stated.

“It is such an important honour. I’ve watched Rafa play all my childhood, and I used to be fortunate sufficient to play Rafa once I grew to become knowledgeable. Right now shouldn’t be my second. It is Rafa’s second.”

Norrie, Dart knocked out in first spherical

Britain's Cameron Norrie reacts during a match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Picture:
Cameron Norrie slumped out of the French Open within the first
spherical

British No 1 Cameron Norrie slumped out within the first spherical to Russian Pavel Kotov.

Norrie, caught on a sparsely-populated outdoors court docket on a chilly and breezy Paris afternoon in a match delayed by rain, misplaced in 5 tight units 4-6 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

The 28-year-old, seeded 32, gained 5 video games in a row after trailing 4-1 to take the primary set.

Twice Norrie led by a set however twice world No 56 Kotov hit again, taking the match to a decider in a tie-break.

Kotov raced right into a 4-0 lead and Norrie was unable to peg him again as he bowed out on the first-round stage for the primary time since 2020.

Harriet Dart was additionally despatched packing as she misplaced 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to Czech twenty seventh seed Linda Noskova.

Defeats for Andy Murray and Jack Draper on Sunday imply Britain’s hopes in singles now relaxation with Katie Boulter and Dan Evans, who play their first-round matches on Tuesday.

Sinner eases previous Eubanks to achieve second spherical

Italy's Jannik Sinner clenches his fist after scoring a point against Christopher Eubanks of the U.S. during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)
Picture:
Jannik Sinner struck first within the battle to finish the French Open as world primary

Italian world No 2 Jannik Sinner regarded absolutely recovered from his harm issues as he noticed off American Christopher Eubanks 6-3 6-3 6-4.

Sinner, the Australian Open champion, withdrew from the Madrid Open and missed Rome with a hip harm, however was again on type at Roland Garros as Eubanks exited on the first hurdle for the second successive yr.

“The hip is sweet, I am glad that my staff and myself, we have been working very arduous to be on court docket as quickly as attainable,” Sinner stated. “For positive, the final form shouldn’t be at 100 per cent but, so we attempt to construct day by day.”

The Italian broke twice within the opening set to guide 4-1 earlier than Eubanks broke again however Sinner noticed out the set with one other break, and wanted only one break in every of the following two units to take his place within the second spherical.

“Actually, I am simply pleased to be again on court docket, I used to be injured, so I am very pleased to be again right here,” Sinner stated.

“It is a very particular event for me, it was the primary time in a quarter-final of a grand slam, so I’ve some nice recollections.”

Djokovic, who returned to the highest of the rankings in September, now must at the very least attain the ultimate to have any likelihood of staying there.

The 37-year-old Serb, who stated he has “low expectations and high hopes” of defending his title in Paris, faces French wild card Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his first-round match on Tuesday.

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