Nadal handed tough draw against Zverev in French Open

Rafael Nadal tosses up a ball during French Open practice
Rafael Nadal has won 14 of his 22 Grand Slam titles on the French Open clay [Getty Images]

Rafael Nadal will start his French Open return - and expected farewell to the tournament he has dominated - with a first-round match against German fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

Spain's Nadal, who has won the men's title on a record 14 occasions, plans to retire later this year.

Zverev, 27, is one of the favourites for the title and tuned up by winning the Italian Open last week.

Britain's Andy Murray has also indicated he will call it a day in the coming months and starts against fellow veteran Stan Wawrinka.

Murray, 37, has only played on the Roland Garros clay once since 2017, but returns for the final time after recovering from an ankle injury which put his participation in doubt.

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic starts against French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert, while Iga Swiatek begins her bid for a third title in a row against a qualifier or lucky loser.

The French Open, which is the second Grand Slam tournament of the season, starts on Sunday, 26 May.

Eye-catching draws for the Brits

Success for British players on the Paris clay has been scarce over the years and, based on form and pedigree, it would be monumental achievement if anyone could follow Sue Barker as the only singles champions from the nation in the Open era.

Katie Boulter is the highest-ranked British player and the 26th seed has been a handed a difficult-looking draw.

Making her first appearance in the main draw, Boulter starts against former world number three Paula Badosa, could face former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the second round, while Sabalenka potentially lies in wait in the third round.

Boulter, 27, almost drew fellow Briton Harriet Dart in the first round.

Boulter was one of two seeds left in the pot to face 27-year-old Dart, who instead starts her second appearance in the main draw against Czech 27th seed Linda Noskova.

In the men’s singles, Cameron Norrie is the leading Briton by ranking and the 32nd seed will have a chance of facing Murray in the second round if he beats Pavel Kotov.

Dan Evans landed Danish 13th seed Holger Rune, while Jack Draper faces a qualifier or lucky loser.

More to follow.

More to follow.