Alexander Zverev is prepared to face a formidable Rafael Nadal at the French Open on Monday, potentially marking the end of Nadal's illustrious career at Roland Garros. Zverev, the number four player globally from Germany, finds himself matched against Nadal in the first round, a draw that no one would have desired, as the 22-time Grand Slam title holder readies himself for his final appearance at the tournament.

Zverev expressed his expectations of encountering the best version of Nadal, stating, 'In my mind, I'm going to play peak Rafa Nadal. That's what I expect him to be. I expect him to be at his absolute best. I expect him to play the best tennis he's played in a long time on this court.' Despite Nadal holding a 7-3 winning record over Zverev, with five victories on clay, the German is in good form. Their encounter in Paris two years ago was interrupted when Zverev sustained an ankle injury, causing him to retire from their semi-final match.

Following his injury, Zverev has been gradually regaining his form and triumphed at the Rome Open last week, claiming his first Masters 1000 title since 2021. Speaking of his Spanish rival, Zverev remarked, 'He's going to finish his career probably before mine. I really wanted to play him one more time because I didn't want my last memory to be me rolling off in a wheelchair off Court Philippe Chatrier. I really wanted to play him here.'

Expressing his preference to face Nadal at a later stage in the tournament, Zverev acknowledged the challenge awaiting him in the first round. He acknowledged the tough battle both players are poised for, emphasizing, 'I didn't want to play him in the first round. I wanted to play him in the semi-finals, final, a later stage of the tournament. But at the end of the day, he's not seeded, it is how it is, and I think we're both prepared for a tough battle.'