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German tennis star Alexander Zverev offered some empathy for Rafael Nadal, expressing hope that the Spaniard would be ready for the French Open. 

Nadal suffered a quarterfinal loss in Madrid last week but refused to blame foot issues for the loss suffered versus Alcaraz. 

This week in Rome, Nadal easily won the first set of his Rome last-16 meeting versus Denis Shapovalov but the Canadian stormed back to win 1-6 7-5 6-2. 

After the match, Nadal opened up about his troublesome foot and admitted it was causing him too much pain on the court. 

“I had my foot again with a lot of pain,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference. “I am a player living with an injury; it is nothing new. It's something that is there. Unfortunately my day-by-day is difficult, honestly. it’s difficult for me to accept the situation sometimes. Today at half the second set, it starts and then it wasn't playable for me. I don't want to take away anything from Denis. Today is for him. Well done for him.”

Zverev: I feel sorry for Nadal

"That explains the third set a little bit. Yeah, I feel sorry for Rafa. Hopefully, he can be fit. He has 10 days' time to be able to play in Paris," Zverev said, per Sportskeeda.

Going into the French Open, Zverev definitely thinks he could be one of the favorites. 

Also, Zverev listed Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the French Open title contenders. 

"Look, I think Alcaraz is one of the favorites. Novak is one of the favorites. Tsitsipas. If I get in form, I can do well there. There's a lot of guys that can play well on this surface," Zverev said.

Zverev entered the 2022 season determined to finally win his maiden Grand Slam title. 

Last year, Zverev reached his first French Open semifinal before losing to Tsitsipas.


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