Nadal vs Zverev. A total of 91 tournament wins (Nadal) meet 19 titles (Zverev). With Nadal, the greatest clay court player of all time meets the 25-year-old German, who has not yet won a Grand Slam tournament.
Nevertheless, before the duel in the semifinals of the French Open (from 2.30 p.m. in the live ticker of FOCUS Online) three theses suggest that Zverev beats the 36-year-old.
Before last season, Zverev’s record against Nadal on clay court was sobering. The German lost all three games. In the final of the Masters tournament in Madrid in early May 2021, however, Zverev showed that he can also beat the Spaniard on his favorite surface. With a strong performance, the right-hander won 6: 4, 6: 4 against Nadal.
The memory of that encounter should give Zverev enough lift to know he can beat Nadal on the Paris red ashes too. In a direct comparison, Nadal has more wins than Zverev (6: 3). With a view to this semi-final, however, this fact is of less importance.
Nadal’s encounter against Novak Djokovic was breathtaking – but also exhausting. The Spaniard had to give it his all in 4:12 hours on the pitch against the Serb to reach the semifinals. Nadal left a lot of grains. His body is already marked by sport. Marked by 21 Grand Slam titles and a total of 22 years of world-class sport.
For many years he has been struggling with foot pain, the so-called Müller-Weiss syndrome. The pain comes and goes. “I’m not injured, I’m a player living with an injury,” Nadal said recently.
How much longer can his body endure such matches? Especially since Zverev goes into the duel much more rested. The German has half a day more rest and regeneration. In addition, Zverev has been on the pitch in Paris for a little over 14 hours to date. Nadal, on the other hand, needed 15 hours and eight minutes to advance to the semifinals. Advantage Zverev.
In the quarter-finals against Carlos Alcaraz, Zverev had to fight for the audience’s favor for a long time. The fans at Court Philippe-Chatrier were all in favor of the Spanish upstart from the start. They wanted the 19-year-old to follow in Rafael Nadal’s footsteps already this year and usher in a new great era in Paris.
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But Zverev had something against it. With an almost perfect game in the first two sets, he silenced the audience and made Alcaraz despair. Only in the course of the 3rd set, when the Spaniard played evenly, did the audience come back and create an electrifying atmosphere. Zverev still stayed cool, played his game in four sets and earned the duel against Nadal with this performance.
The signs in the semifinals will be the same. Nadal is the “King of Paris”, 13 titles at the French Open speak for themselves. The audience loves their “Rafa” and wants to see him in the Paris final for the 15th time. Zverev already proved against Alcaraz that he stays cool even when the fans favor or even idolize the opponent. If the German stays with himself and his game, he can silence Philippe-Chatrier again and crown himself for the first time in Paris.
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