Rafael Nadal went into the final of the French Open 2022 after getting a walkover from German Alexander Zverev who could not continue due after twisting his ankle in the Philippe-Chatrier on Friday, June 3 evening.
The incident happened in the tie-breaker of the second set of the match when Nadal was looking to pull away from Zverev with a 2-0 lead going into the third set.
The German, while attempting a fourhand while running to his right, twisted his ankle and fell down to the ground. The injury was to that extent that the broadcasters refused to show a replay. Zverev screamed in agony after the fall and had to be taken off in a wheelchair.
Speaking after the game, Nadal clarified the conditions and backed the turf being used in French Open, stating that the conditions were absolutely fine, and Zverev had an unfortunate accident.
“Well, yeah. Of course it’s not easy and beautiful to talk after what happened. Only thing that I can say is I hope he’s not too bad. Hopefully it’s just the normal thing when you turn your ankle, and hopefully nothing has broken,” the finalist said when asked about the final moments of the game.
Zverev started off the game against a rusty looking Nadal, going up 4-2 in the first set, before the Spaniard made a classic comeback to snatch the set away 7-6 (8). The competition got fierce as they progressed through the game, playing longer rallies and tougher angles in the court.
“I think he started the match playing amazing. I know how much it means to him, to fight to win his first Grand Slam. We are colleagues, we have been practising together a lot of times. And seeing a colleague on the tour like this, even if for me it’s a dream to be in the final of Roland Garros, of course that way is not the way that we want it to be. Feels very sorry for, if you are human, you should feel very sorry for a colleague.”
With humid conditions in Paris, Nadal was not being primed to win the French Open. In fact against Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final, Nadal played as an underdog to clinch the four-set game.
“The conditions have been the slower conditions I played since long time ago here, because have been very humid this afternoon and if we had big humidity with indoor, the ball was super big and difficult to create a spin on the ball. So I think the conditions were not the ideal for me this afternoon or the way that I like to play normally here. That’s why I was not able to create the damage that I wanted over him, no?”
Rafael Nadal will be up against either Casper Ruud who trains at the Nadal Academy, or against veteran Marin Cilic. Nadal has the chance to win a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam in his career on Sunday, 5 June.