PARIS – Alexander Zverev backed Rafael Nadal to win his 14th French Open title and expressed concern that an ankle injury forced him to withdraw from Friday’s semi-final against the Spaniard “very seriously”.
Xavier had to be pushed from the court of Philip Chatterjee in a wheelchair due to a late ankle sprain in the second set as he was trailing 7-6 (8) 6-6 in his encounter with the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
In a video posted on the French Open’s Twitter account, Zverev said: “Today is a very difficult moment for me on the court, a great match for what happened.
“It looks like I have a very serious injury, but the medical team and doctors are still examining it and we will keep you updated, we will let you know as soon as we know more.”
Zaverev and Nadal were on the court for three hours and 13 minutes before the Spaniard won the first set at the tie-break when the 25-year-old suffered his injury.
After treatment in court, Zverev was wheeled into the locker room before returning to the crাche to secure his retirement and get a hug from his opponent.
Nadal, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Friday, will now face Norway’s Caspar Rudd in Sunday’s final as he seeks his 14th Roland Garros title and a record number of Grand Slam crowns.
“I want to congratulate Rafa,” Zaverev said. “It’s incredible to see him in the 14th final and hopefully he can go all the way and make some more history.
“But, today is not an easy moment for me and I will keep everyone updated.”
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