Rafael Nadal suffers early French Open 2024 exit as Alexander Zverev records straight-set win over 14-time champion | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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Rafael Nadal suffers early French Open 2024 exit as Alexander Zverev records straight-set win over 14-time champion

By, New Delhi
May 27, 2024 10:17 PM IST

Rafael Nadal lost his first round of the French Open 2024 to Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Monday.

In what could be his last French Open, record-time winner Rafael Nadal suffered an early exit from the Roland Garros on Monday. World No.4 Alexander Zverev recorded a straight-set triumph over Nadal in the 1st round match of the French Open 2024 at the famous Philippe-Chatrier. With the memorable win over Nadal, Zverev became the third player in men's singles to defeat the 14-time Roland Garros champion at the French Open.

Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd as he leaves the court after losing his first-round match against Germany's Alexander Zverev (REUTERS)
Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd as he leaves the court after losing his first-round match against Germany's Alexander Zverev (REUTERS)

Zverev has joined Swedes Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic on the elite list of singles players who have outclassed The King of Clay at the French Open. With Nadal broken to love in the first game, Zverev silenced the chants of 'Rafa Rafa' at Roland Garros. Zverev fired 15 winners against Nadal's five to take the first set 6-3 in the first-round game.

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ALSO READ: Nadal vs Zverev, French Open Live: Nadal loses to Zverev in straight sets

Keen on making a comeback, Nadal's breakpoints became an instant hit among the fans. Celebrating his winning forehand with shouts of ‘Vamos’, Nadal put up a fight in the second set against Zverev. Defending champion Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek attended Nadal's first-round clash with Zverev. Netting a service return in the tense tie-break, Nadal lost the second set 7-6 (7/5) to Zverev.

The runner-up at the 2020 US Open sealed his straight-set win by winning the third set 6-3 in Paris. Nadal was forced to save four break points in the 13-minute fifth game. In the end, a long and wide forehand from Nadal handed Zverev a famous win over the 14-time champion. Zverev converted six of 18 break points against Nadal.

Nadal dealing with hip and abdominal injuries

Knocked out of the French Open 1st round, Nadal has been dealing with hip and abdominal injuries since January 2023. The former World No.1 had already hinted that 2024 likely would be his last season before retirement. The 37-year-old ruled the Grand Slam event in Paris for two decades. The 22-time major champion last won the famous trophy in 2022.

'I'm not 100% sure if it's the last time'

"I'm not 100% sure if it's the last time but I enjoyed it, the crowd were amazing during the whole week of preparation and today. The feelings today are difficult to describe with words but it's special to feel the love in the place I love the most. I enjoy playing a lot and travelling with the family. The body is feeling better than two months ago. Maybe in two months I say it's enough. But it's something I don’t feel yet,” Nadal said after his early French Open exit.

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