July 16, 2024
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s incredible career at the French Open appears to have reached its end on Monday when the 14-time champion lost in the first round to Alexander Zverev.

The match ended with scores of 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in favor of Zverev, marking only Nadal’s fourth loss at Roland Garros since his debut victory in 2005.

Nadal, who will turn 38 on June 3, faced an uphill battle against the world number four. This defeat was his first-ever in the opening round at the French Open, raising questions about his future in tennis.

“I don’t know if this is the last time I will be here. I am not 100% sure but if it is, then I wanted to enjoy it,” said Nadal. “The feelings today are difficult to describe in words.”

Injuries have plagued Nadal, limiting him to just four events since January last year. Once the world number one, he is now ranked 275 and was unseeded in Paris. However, he had expressed optimism about his future in tennis before the tournament, saying he was “100% keeping the door open.”

The match was a repeat of the 2022 semi-final, which Nadal had won after Zverev withdrew due to ankle ligament damage. This time, Nadal had his chances but couldn’t capitalize on them. He led in the second and third sets but was unable to maintain his advantage.

The crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier, sheltered from the torrential rain outside, chanted “Rafa, Rafa,” creating a supportive atmosphere for Nadal. However, the cheers turned to silence

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