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Nadal ensures that Rome returns during the qualifying match

Rafael Nadal was drawn with a first-round qualifying match at the Italian Open on Monday as the 22-time Grand Slam winner continues his comeback from injury on clay in Rome.

Should Nadal reach the second round in the Italian capital, where he has won the title a record 10 times, he could face world number nine Hubert Hurkacz.

Also on Nadal’s side are last year’s winner, world number four Daniil Medvedev, and defeated finalist Holger Rune.

The 37-year-old last won in Rome in 2021 and dropped out with an injury ahead of last year’s tournament.

Since making his comeback in April after three months on the sidelines, Nadal, who is ranked 305th in the ATP men’s tour rankings after barely playing in 2023, was eliminated in the second round in Barcelona and the final in Madrid 16 reached.

This season is expected to be Nadal’s last, even if he has not yet decided exactly when he will hang up his racket.

Numerous physical problems have hampered him over the past two years and he has said he will only compete at Roland Garros later this month if he feels competitive.

Nadal’s old rival Novak Djokovic will face a qualifier or Russia’s Roman Safiullin in the second round as he hunts for a seventh title in Rome with main rivals sidelined.

Both home hopes Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz, second and third in the world rankings respectively, have been forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.



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