Skip to content

Alexander Zverev is matched against Rafael Nadal in the draw.

Pending legal proceeding at residence

Alexander Zverev celebrates after his victory over Jarry in the Rome final.
Alexander Zverev celebrates after his victory over Jarry in the Rome final.

Alexander Zverev is matched against Rafael Nadal in the draw.

Alexander Zverev is set to be the favorite at this year's French Open, with his competitors seemingly weakening. However, his first challenge will come in the form of former champion Rafael Nadal, who's rumored to be on his farewell tour. On top of that, Zverev also has a trial awaiting him back home on charges of assault.

Zverev has been handed a difficult opponent in the French Open draw, as he's set to face 14-time Paris champion Rafael Nadal in the first round. These two have previous, with Zverev suffering a serious ankle injury during the semi-final match at Stade Roland Garros two years ago. Nadal, 37, is constantly bothered by injuries and has announced that 2024 will likely be his final year on the tennis tour.

Despite his recent struggles with injuries, Nadal made it to the round of 16 at the Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid as he wasn't seeded this time around. Zverev, on the other hand, won the tournament in Madrid just before Paris, cementing himself as a top contender for the title. The German number one is aiming for his first Grand Slam title in Paris.

Zverev has come close to winning a major title twice before. In 2020, he lost the US Open final to Dominic Thiem after being up 2-0 sets, and last year, he pushed Nadal right till the end before his injury. "The last two years have been extremely difficult," said Zverev, who had doubts about his ability to compete on the big stage again after his foot injury. However, his Masters 1000 victory last week in Rome has given him the confidence he needs. German newspapers have compared him to "Alexander the Great." Will the crowning glory come in Paris for Zverev?

Tennis icon Boris Becker predicted a successful year for Zverev back in December, but of course, Nadal's first-round draw wasn't known at the time. With Zverev's stellar form and the weakening competition, his chances have improved even more since then. Former player Andrea Petkovic agrees, saying "he can."

Jan-Lennard Struff and Angelique Kerber also have a chance of making it deep in the tournament. Struff won the ATP event in Munich on clay, while Kerber, the former world number one, is looking to do better at her second Grand Slam tournament since her return from maternity leave.

Zverev's main rivals - Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, and Carlos Alcaraz - are all struggling with injuries. Although Djokovic, Sinner, and Alcaraz, along with Nadal, are among the tournament favorites, Zverev will avoid playing them at least until the semi-finals as long as they all participate.

Zverev has been improving his forehand control and speed, allowing him to play more aggressively. His backhand and serve are strong advantages as well.

The only thing standing in Zverev's way is Nadal, who's known to put on unbeatable performances at Roland Garros, and the stress of his upcoming trial on charges of assault at the Tiergarten District Court in Berlin, set to begin during the French Open on May 31. The trial had already received attention from the international media during the Australian Open and may potentially disturb his focus.

Alexander Zverev is facing a fine of 450,000 euros (90 times 5,000 euros) for assault. He denies the accusation and has filed an appeal. The German tennis player is accused of physically harming a woman during a dispute in Berlin in May 2020. The accuser is participating in the proceedings as a co-complainant. Zverev does not need to attend the trial personally. Zverev maintains his innocence until a final verdict is issued.

Read also: