Rafael Nadal has Alexander Zverev concern ahead of French Open semi-final clash

Rafael Nadal announces end season through injury in 2021

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Rafael Nadal has admitted he will have to be at his very best against Alexander Zverev if he is to stand a chance of progressing to the French Open final. The Spaniard produced a fine performance to defeat Novak Djokovic in four sets in a pulsating quarter-final match which concluded in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but is fearful his campaign could come to an end if he is to be slightly off against the German.

He will take on the world number three tomorrow, who defeated the red-hot Carlos Alcaraz to mark his first victory over a top-10 player at a Grand Slam. The German is playing well on the clay and after progressing to the Madrid Open final earlier this month, he has now reached his second consecutive French Open semi.

The 25-year-old possesses some heavy artillery, especially his serve and following today’s practice session, Nadal stated how well he has to play to have a chance of making his 14th Roland Garros final. “I am excited to be in the semi-finals. I know I had a good victory in the quarter-finals, but now another big challenge is coming, the fifth seed told the French Open website.

“Zverev is playing great, he’s had a good clay court season, and he’s playing well. He won against Alcaraz because he is doing a lot of things well, so I need to play at my 100% again. He’s a great player, one of the best in the world without a doubt, so the only way to keep having chances to go through is to play aggressive and with the right determination from the beginning until the end, and just be focused all the time.”

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The Spaniard was at his belligerent best as he powered 57 winners past Djokovic and showed the type of aggression needed if he is to claim a record-extending 22nd major title. Off the court, the 21-time Grand Slam winner seemed to hint he is considering his future after his quarter-final win.

“I’m going to play this tournament but I don’t know what’s going to happen after here.” But Nadal has now said he is not ready to say farewell to the French Open despite his chronic foot injury.

Speaking to Spain’s RTVE channel, the world No 5 said: “At no time do I want this to seem like a farewell. We will continue working to find solutions to what is happening down with my foot. I trust and hope to be able to return. This last year has been difficult. Day to day, with everything that it entails, has been difficult not just because of all the effort but to stay competitive.

“And I play to be competitive. It’s what makes me really happy. We will keep thinking about the things we need to improve and the desire is to continue.” 

Nadal or Zverev will face the world number eight Casper Ruud or a resurgent Maric Cilic, who became the fifth active male player to reach the semi-finals or more of every Grand Slam with his five-set victory over Andrey Rublev.

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