Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023, Alexander Zverev - Miami Open 2024

Rafael Nadal to play Alexander Zverev in brutal French Open draw

Rafael Nadal has been handed a nightmare first round Roland Garros draw against fourth seed Alexander Zverev, who is coming off the back of winning the Italian Open.

Nadal is unseeded at Roland Garros for the first time in his career, meaning that the Spaniard could have been drawn against anyone from the first round.

And that certainly had an impact on the current world No.276, who will play his highest ranked opponent since returning to the ATP Tour in 2024.

Zverev claimed his sixth Masters 1000 title in Rome last week, enabling the German to leapfrog Daniil Medvedev into the fourth seeded spot at Roland Garros.

Nadal and Zverev have played on 10 previous occasions, with the former leading the head-to-head with seven victories.

The last time that the pair played was in the 2022 Roland Garros semi-final, where Zverev suffered a serious ankle injury in the second set tie-break that kept him out of action for seven months.

It is currently unclear as to when this match will take place, with the orders of play set to be released in the coming days.

Inside the baseline…

This will certainly not have been the draw that Rafael Nadal will have been hoping for against one of the tournament favourites, as he would likely have wanted to work his way into the tournament. However, when you are unseeded that is the risk that you have got to take. That being said, Nadal at Roland Garros is a different beast and if he is going to produce an incredible performance anywhere then it will be here. There is also the possibility that Zverev has his mind elsewhere, with his upcoming domestic abuse court case set to take place during the tournament.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.