After Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal could also experience this from Hubert Hurkacz

Hurkacz ended Federer's last Wimbledon run and now he could do the same to Nadal in Rome.

by Dzevad Mesic
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After Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal could also experience this from Hubert Hurkacz
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Hubert Hurkacz could potentially have the chance to be Rafael Nadal's last opponent at the Rome Masters and do something he did three years ago when he met Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

On Monday, Rome released its main draw and Nadal - who is very likely playing in Rome for the first last time - drew a qualifier in the first round while seventh-seeded Hurkacz has a first-round bye. If Nadal beats a qualifier - something that will very likely happen - he will then meet Hurkacz in the Rome second round. 

In 2021 July, Hurkacz - who grew up idolizing Federer - ousted the Swiss 6-3 7-6 (4) 6-0 to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. Shortly after the loss, Federer had his third knee surgery and unfortunately never again returned to Wimbledon nor even again competed in a tournament. Because of that, Hurkacz is now the last player to beat Federer at Wimbledon and also the last player to beat the Swiss in an official singles match.

Hubert Hurkacz and Roger Federer
Hubert Hurkacz and Roger Federer© Getty Images Sport - Pool
 

After becoming the last player to beat record eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer at The Championships, Hurkacz could now very easily become the last player to beat record 10-time Rome champion Nadal at Foro Italico. 

Nadal hopes for a good Rome run but meeting Hurkacz early would be a tough test

After losing in the Madrid Masters round-of-16 and then having an emotional moment with the crowd, Nadal also highlighted Rome as one of his favorite tournaments. 

"That's another very special tournament in my career. I dreamed to play all these tournaments that I had success one more time. I missed Monte Carlo unfortunately, that is one of the most special for me, but Rome is one of these ones that I enjoyed a lot playing there," Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Paolo Bruno
 

While Nadal may not be entering this year's Rome edition as the top favorite like many times in the past, he still has certain hopes and expectations.

"I want to play well there (in Rome). I want to be competitive. I want to give myself a chance to play good tennis, and I'm gonna keep working hard to try to make that happen," Nadal said.

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Hubert Hurkacz
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