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Hello and welcome to protection from the French Open in what might be Rafael Nadal’s last match at Roland Garros.

The 14-time champion begins his marketing campaign in opposition to Alexander Zverev, which is the standout match within the first spherical.

“It’s not ideal the first match, because I feel competitive to have this match later in the tournament, but it’s how it is,” Nadal stated.

“I need to be ready since the beginning. Let’s see.”

The assembly will convey again contrasting reminiscences for each gamers of the final time they met, in a French Open semi-final in 2022, when Nadal went on to win one more title in Paris, the final of his 22 Grand Slam victories.

Zverev was compelled to retire from that match with an ankle harm. He underwent surgical procedure and ended up lacking the remainder of the season with one other harm, however he returned final yr to achieve his third consecutive French Open semi-final.

With among the different high gamers corresponding to Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz, battling accidents of late, this might be Zverev’s probability to lastly win a Grand Slam.

The German won’t have needed to fulfill Nadal so early within the event however he was completely happy to have the prospect to take him on once more.

“I really wanted to play him here. I did not want to play him in the first round. I wanted to play him in the semi-finals, finals, a later stage of the tournament,” Zverev stated.

“But at the end of the day, he’s not seeded, it is how it is, and I think we’re both prepared for a tough battle.”

Any plans to pay tribute to Nadal if he loses have been scuppered as a result of he has stated this won’t essentially be his last look on the event.

“As you can imagine, we had something planned for him. But … because he doesn’t know if it’s going to be his last Roland Garros or not, he wants to leave the door open maybe to come back next year as a player. So we are not going to push him, obviously, to do anything,” Mauresmo stated.

“It’s his decision when he wants to have a proper ceremony, a proper goodbye, a proper farewell. So we’re not going to do it this year. That’s his wish,” she continued. “And even though we were ready to push the button if something happens, we obviously are going to respect what he wants and make sure we are ready whenever he feels he wants to do it. Later this year; next year; anytime he wants.”