April 19, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Vid: Rafael Nadal hits the court in Paris

PARIS – Rafael Nadal hit the practice court at the French Open for the first time Thursday, with a two-hour session on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

He had two more court times booked – two hours each – on Friday.

Nadal’s opponent on Thursday was quality clay-courter Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

The Mallorcan is obviously the prohibitive favorite at Roland Garros once again this year, as he seeks his 11th career title and comes into it in redoubtable form, based on his efforts during the clay-court season so far.

He also returns as the No. 1 player in the world, flipping with Roger Federer yet again as of Monday.

That wouldn’t change his seeding in Paris, obviously, with Federer once again skipping it this year.

First up is Dolgopolov

Nadal’s first-round opponent is Alexander Dolgopolov, who has been a bit of a ghost this spring as he returns from injury. 

The Ukrainian had been out since the Australian Open when he lost in the first round of Marrakech to No. 221 Andrea Arnaboldi last month. And he didn’t return until a month later, when he won just four games against Novak Djokovic in the first round of Rome.

So he wouldn’t be expected to put up much opposition.

There are some quality players through his first couple of rounds. But the first seed Nadal would be expected to face is No. 27 Richard Gasquet.

Unfortunately for Gasquet, he’s 0-15 against Nadal, even though he hasn’t played him on clay since 2011. He also hasn’t taken a set off Nadal in nearly 10 years.

After that, it could be Jack Sock, or Denis Shapovalov.

Here are some pics from the Thursday practice.

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