Nadal is in French Open Field, Will Face Zverev in 1st Round

Spain's Rafael Nadal takes part in a practice session ahead of The French Open tennis tournament on Court Philippe-Chatrier at The Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 22, 2024. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal takes part in a practice session ahead of The French Open tennis tournament on Court Philippe-Chatrier at The Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 22, 2024. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)
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Nadal is in French Open Field, Will Face Zverev in 1st Round

Spain's Rafael Nadal takes part in a practice session ahead of The French Open tennis tournament on Court Philippe-Chatrier at The Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 22, 2024. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal takes part in a practice session ahead of The French Open tennis tournament on Court Philippe-Chatrier at The Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 22, 2024. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)

Rafael Nadal is in the French Open field, after all, and Thursday's draw set up the 14-time champion for a challenging first-round matchup against No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev.

“That’s going to be hard, but he is a warrior," tournament director Amélie Mauresmo said. "Anything is possible with Rafa.”

This is expected to be Nadal's last appearance at Roland Garros, and he had been coy about whether he would compete this time after two seasons of off-and-on action because of injuries, including a surgically repaired hip that forced him to miss his favorite tournament a year ago, The Associated Press reported.

After a loss at the Italian Open this month, Nadal said he needed to think about whether to play in Paris. But the Spaniard, who turns 38 on June 3, has been practicing on the red clay at Roland Garros this week and his name was officially in the bracket.

The French Open begins on Sunday.

The Nadal-Zverev winner could be on a path toward a potential semifinal meeting against No. 1 seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic, whose opening opponent is French wild-card entry Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

The potential men's quarterfinals are Djokovic against No. 7 Casper Ruud — who lost to Nadal in the 2022 final and 24-time major champion Djokovic in the 2023 final — and Zverev or Nadal against No. 5 Daniil Medvedev in the top half of the bracket, and No. 2 Jannik Sinner against No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz, and No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz versus No. 6 Andrey Rublev in the bottom half.

In the women's draw, one intriguing semifinal could be No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who seeks a third consecutive French Open title, against No. 3 Coco Gauff, the reigning US Open champion who lost to Swiatek in the Paris final two years ago.

“I’m starting to really feel at home here,” Swiatek said at the draw ceremony.
She will start off against someone who was in the qualifying rounds, and then could face four-time major champion and former No. 1 Naomi Osaka.

The possible women's quarterfinals are Swiatek vs. No. 5 Marketa Vondrousova, and Gauff vs. No. 8 Ons Jabeur on the top half, and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No. 6 Maria Sakkari, and No. 4 Elena Rybakina vs. No. 7 Zheng Qinwen on the bottom half.

Despite all of the success Nadal has enjoyed at the event — his career record there is 112-3 — the French tennis federation decided not to go against its usual rules that follow the ATP and WTA rankings to determine seedings.

So the 22-time major champion's inactivity-affected ranking of No. 276 left him unseeded — which meant Nadal could be selected in the computerized, random draw to face any opponent to start. His matchup against Zverev, the 2020 US Open runner-up and Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, is a rematch of their 2022 French Open semifinal that ended when Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle.

Zverev, a 27-year-old from Germany, enters Roland Garros as a serious contender for what would be his first major title, coming off a trophy at the Italian Open on clay.

He's drawn attention lately for a serious matter away from tennis: A court proceeding is scheduled to begin next week in Germany related to accusations of physical abuse made by an ex-girlfriend of his. Zverev does not need to attend and has said he won't.

Another high-profile first-round matchup pits a pair of three-time Grand Slam champions against each other: Andy Murray, who just turned 37, versus Stan Wawrinka, who is 39. First-rounders to keep an eye on also include Australian Open runner-up Zheng against popular French veteran Alizé Cornet, who has said she will retire after the French Open, and two-time major finalist Karolina Pliskova against No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist.

One expected withdrawal was announced Thursday: fifth-ranked Jessica Pegula, an American who has reached six major quarterfinals.



Macron: Decision to Dissolve Parliament Should Not Spoil Olympics Mood

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
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Macron: Decision to Dissolve Parliament Should Not Spoil Olympics Mood

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he did not think his decision to dissolve parliament and call for new parliamentary elections would spoil the mood ahead of next month's Olympic Games.

"French people have no wish for the Olympic Games to not take place," said Macron, speaking at a G7 summit in Italy.

The snap election, called at very short notice by Macron after his centrist alliance was trounced by the far-right National Rally in Sunday's European Parliament ballot, has upended French politics, with parties rushing to field candidates and prepare platforms.

Opinion polls project that Marine Le Pen's RN could, for the first time, top the June 30 and July 7 vote but without enough seats to win an absolute majority and govern on its own.

The RN has been kept out of power for decades by voters mistrustful of the far right and its radical policies, as well as by a decades-old consensus among mainstream parties to join forces against it.
But under the helm of Le Pen and new party leader Jordan Bardella, they have worked to detoxify their image and woo a growing number of voters across the board.