3 players who beat Rafael Nadal in the 1st Round of a Grand Slam ft. Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal lost against Alexander Zverev in the first round at the French Open 2024
Rafael Nadal lost against Alexander Zverev in the first round at the French Open 2024

Rafael Nadal has been one of the most consistent performers at the Grand Slam stage. The Spaniard has won 22 Grand Slam titles and trails only Novak Djokovic as the male player with the most Majors.

Nadal is only the second player in the Open Era, along with Novak Djokovic, to win every Grand Slam at least twice. The French Open has been his most successful tournament, with 14 titles to his name. He also won the US Open four times, while triumphing twice each at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

The Spaniard's Grand Slam dominance has been such that a first-round exit would come as a huge surprise to anybody. He suffered only his third opening-round elimination at a Major after losing to Alexander Zverev at the French Open

Here is a look at three players who have managed to topple Nadal in the first round of a Grand Slam.

#3. Steve Darcis - Wimbledon, 2013

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Rafael Nadal met Steve Darcis in the first round of the Wimbledon in 2013. The Spaniard entered the tournament after winning the French Open after beating Novak Djokovic in the final.

Darcis won the match 7-6(4), 7-6(8) 6-4 to hand Nadal his first-ever first-round defeat at the Grand Slam stage. The big-serving Belgian dominated the Spaniard who could not even win a set. This marked the Spaniard's second successive disappointment at Wimbledon, having previously lost to Philipp Petzschner in the second round in 2012.


#2. Fernando Verdasco - Australian Open, 2016

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The Australian Open 2016 saw an all-Spanish encounter in the first round in Melbourne. Rafael Nadal was one of the favorites for the tournament having reached the final in two of the last four editions. However, the Spanish star was knocked out in the first round after a five-set thriller.

Verdasco stunned Nadal 7-6 (6) 4-6 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-2 in just over four hours to claim his third and final victory over his compatriot. He hit 87 winners against a helpless Nadal to cause the upset of the tournament. This defeat meant that Nadal extended his Grand Slam drought to over two years at the time, with his last Major win coming at the French Open in 2014.

#1. Alexander Zverev - French Open, 2024

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The World No. 4, Alexander Zverev faced an unseeded Rafael Nadal in the first round of the French Open. The German won the match in straight sets to hand Nadal his first-ever first-round defeat at Roland Garros.

Zverev's 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 win was his first-ever win against the Spanish giant on clay surface. Despite having a few breakpoints and serving for the second set, Nadal could not capitalize on big moments and ended up losing the match.

This was just the Spaniard's fourth defeat at the French Open in his career, where he has a win-loss ratio of 112-4.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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