Nadal sets aside retirement talk to face Zverev - day two preview

Rafael Nadal practising before the French Open
Rafael Nadal has been encouraged by his form and fitness in recent weeks [Getty Images]

Rafael Nadal returns to action at his favourite tournament on Monday - but he faces his trickiest French Open opener for many years.

The Spanish great, a record 14-time champion at Roland Garros, faces fourth seed Alexander Zverev at about 14:00 BST.

It had seemed like this would be the 37-year-old's final French Open appearance but he said earlier this week he would not "close the door" on extending his career.

Consequently, a planned farewell ceremony has been scrapped by tournament organisers.

Women's top seed and three-time champion Iga Swiatek is also in action as she looks to continue her recent Roland Garros dominance.

Meanwhile, British number one Cameron Norrie begins his tournament against Pavel Kotov, while Harriet Dart takes on Linda Noskova.

A table showing the matches on French Open centre court
[Getty Images]

A farewell delayed?

Rafael Nadal poses with the French Open trophy
Nadal won his 14th French Open title in 2022 [Getty Images]

Nadal has won the French Open more than any other major, with his most recent victory coming in 2022.

Given his success at Roland Garros, tournament organisers are keen to mark his final appearance.

Nadal was widely believed to be retiring at the end of the season, but French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo says Nadal told her he is yet to make up his mind.

She said: "As you can imagine, we had something planned for him.

"He wants to leave the door open for him maybe to come back next year as a player. So we're not going to push him obviously to do anything.

"It's his decision when he wants to have a proper ceremony. So we're not going to do it this year."

Injuries have hampered Nadal in recent years and he returns to Paris ranked 275th.

Despite his past success it is a tough first round for him against Italian Open champion Zverev, who many expect to challenge for the title.

British duo look to make second week for first time

Picture of Cameron Norrie and Harriet Dart
Cameron Norrie has not progressed beyond the third round in Paris before, while Harriet Dart is yet to win a main-draw match at Roland Garros [Getty Images]

History suggests that Norrie should get through his opening match.

He has reached the third round at Roland Garros for the past two years but is yet to go further.

Seeded 32nd, Norrie could face Andy Murray in the second round, providing they both progress through their first-round matches.

British number two Dart begins against Czech 27th seed Noskova, looking to win a game in the main draw of the French Open for the first time.

She has had a difficult start to the year - the 27-year-old contracted food poisoning on her way to Australia and has since had to contend with a number of small injuries.

She put that behind her to reach her first WTA Tour semi-finals in February, losing to former world number one Karolina Pliskova at the Transylvania Open.

"This year’s been really challenging," she said.

“I have goals to be top 50 by the end of the year. I just need to keep working on my game and the results will take care of themselves."

Swiatek begins bid to defend title

Iga Swiatek taking part in practice before the French Open
Iga Swiatek heads into the tournament having won the previous two French Open titles [Getty Images]

Poland's Swiatek, 22, begins her bid for a fourth French Open title in five years against French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean.

She heads into the tournament in fine form, after securing back-to-back titles in Madrid and Rome this year.

Swiatek boasts an impressive French Open record, having won 28 of her 30 matches there.

She is bidding to become the first woman to win three consecutive Roland Garros titles since Justine Henin, in 2007.