Rafael Nadal to Alexander Zverev: 'It's good to have you back'

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Rafael Nadal to Alexander Zverev: 'It's good to have you back'

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev are in Sydney, leading their countries at the inaugural United Cup. Rafa and Alexander trained on Friday and met on the court for the first time since their epic Roland Garros semi-final last June.

Nadal and Zverev fought for over three hours and were still in the second set on Court Philippe-Chatrier! Zverev wasted the advantage in both sets before experiencing a nasty ankle injury in the second set's 12th game. The German left the court in the wheelchair and returned on the crunches a few minutes later to announce his retirement and send the Spaniard into the final.

Nadal faced four set points in the first set and trailed 5-3 in the second. Two rivals gave their best under a closed roof and in slow and challenging conditions, with a possible six-hour match had they continued.

Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal lost their opening matches of the new season.

There were almost 200 points after numerous deuces, and Nadal won only four more than Zverev.

Alexander missed the rest of the year and dropped out from the top-10 for the first time since 2017. The German kicked off the new season at the United Cup in Sydney, and things are still far from great for him. Zverev experienced a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Jiri Lehecka in an hour and 32 minutes.

The young Czech produced clean hitting and determined tennis. He defended seven out of eight break chances and delivered four breaks from eight opportunities to control the pace and bring a notable win for his country against Germany.

As usual, Zverev suffered a lot behind the second serve, especially after eight double faults. He failed to impose his strokes in the decisive moments and faded from the court in the second set to propel the rival through.

Nadal will also have to return to the practice court following his first match of the season. Rafa fell to Cameron Norrie 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and 44 minutes. The Briton played better in the decisive moments and kept the points on his racquet after an aggressive approach.

Nadal built the advantage with a single break in the opening set but could not keep that level. Cameron broke him once in sets two and three to forge the lead and bring the victory home.

Rafael Nadal Alexander Zverev