Iga Swiatek has revealed her low-key 21st birthday plans, saying she simply wants to watch two tennis greats in action at the French Open.

Swiatek progressed to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by defeating Zheng Qinwen on Monday.

The Pole, who won her maiden grand slam title in Paris two years ago, dropped a set for the first time in more than a month as Zheng took the opener, but she came back to win 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 6-2.

Swiatek has now won 32 matches in a row, with only Venus Williams (35) and Serena Williams (34) now having enjoyed longer streaks this century.

The world number one is also the fifth female player to win 15+ consecutive matches as the number one in the 2000s after Martina Hingis, Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Dinara Safina.

Monday's win provided an early birthday gift for Swiatek, who turned 21 on Tuesday.

And while her main focus will be on a last-eight showdown with Jessica Pegula, she wants to celebrate by watching Novak Djokovic take on 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal.

"It is always pretty hard to celebrate when you are in the middle of the tournament, but I hope I'm going to have time on my day off to do something," Swiatek wrote in her column on BBC Sport.

"I never plan things for my own birthday – it's not like I'm going to throw a party in the locker room! I just hope I will get a proper rest. But I heard my team have prepared something fun for me – so we will see.

"As everyone knows I am a Rafael Nadal fan and I would love to watch his match against Novak Djokovic.

"I will be too curious about what will happen not to see it, but I will watch on TV rather than at the stadium. I watched Rafa's last match against Felix Auger-Aliassime, although not the full game because it was so long.

"During the tournament I need to be focused on my own preparations, my rest and my routine. That's why I won't be going to watch the quarter-final in the stadium.

"But, like always, I'll be rooting for Rafa."

Swiatek added that the inspiration she takes from 21-time grand slam champion Nadal only grew after she visited the 35-year-old's academy in his native Mallorca.

"Recently I went to Rafa's academy in Mallorca and saw all his trophies in the museum he has there," she added. "I got more excited about those trophies than the ones I saw when I went to Real Madrid's stadium, although they were impressive too.

"I was really in awe at seeing the grand slam trophies Rafa has won. But I was also amazed at all the others, like the trophies he has won at Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Rome. There are so many!

"It was amazing to see the consistency he has had during his career and seeing all his trophies was really inspiring."

Roland Garros will play host to the latest instalment of one of tennis's greatest rivalries on Tuesday, after Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic set up their 59th career meeting in the French Open quarter-finals.

The duo, who boast 41 career grand slam titles between them, will meet again after Nadal overcame Felix Auger-Aliassime in a marathon four-hour contest on Sunday, with Djokovic having cruised past Diego Schwartzman in the round of 16.

The illustrious duo first met at the same stage of the tournament in 2006, when Djokovic was forced to retire through injury, and the world number one will be determined to achieve a better outcome this time around as he bids to equal Nadal's haul of 21 grand slam titles.

Ahead of their blockbuster encounter, Stats Perform takes a look at the best Opta facts surrounding their rivalry. 

16 years on from their first meeting, the duo have certainly become familiar with one another. They have met more often than any other male pair in the open era, with Djokovic triumphing on 30 occasions.

That impressive tally represents the most wins managed by any player against a single opponent in the open era.

The duo have also become accustomed to meeting on the biggest stages; this contest will be their 18th grand slam clash, surpassing Djokovic's record tally of 17 major matches against Roger Federer.

Meanwhile, the duo will face each other for a 10th time at the French Open (Nadal has seven wins, Djokovic two), becoming the first male duo to reach double figures for meetings at a particular grand slam in the open era, and will extend their record for the most encounters on clay courts with a 27th such match (Nadal versus Federer is second with 22).

While top seed Djokovic is bidding to replicate Nadal's record of 21 grand slam wins, a tally the Spaniard reached at this year's Australian Open, his opponent boasts an incredible record on clay.

Nadal's 97.3 per cent win ratio at the French Open is the highest of any player at a single open-era slam (minimum 20 wins), while Djokovic's 85 per cent win rate at Roland Garros is his worst such record at any grand slam – even if it is the third-highest ratio in the tournament's history (Bjorn Borg is second with 96.1 per cent).

Nadal has also reached the most French Open finals, with 13, winning all of them, while Djokovic has managed the second-most final appearances in Paris, with six. Three of those, however, ended with the Serb finishing as runner-up to the king of clay, as he did so in 2012, 2014, and 2020.

 

But Djokovic will hope to draw inspiration from his two previous victories over the world number five in the French capital. 

Having beaten the Spaniard in the 2015 quarter-finals and the 2021 semi-finals, Djokovic is one of just two players to have ever beaten Nadal at the French Open, along with Robin Soderling in 2009's fourth round.

One thing is for certain; their encounter is sure to provide quality. Nadal (88 per cent) and Djokovic (87.7 per cent) have the second- and third-highest grand slam win ratios in open-era history (Bjorn Borg is first with 89.2 per cent, minimum 100 wins). 

Sixteen years after they first met in a grand slam Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will do battle in another mouthwatering French Open quarter-final on Tuesday.

Two of the all-time greats have locked horns 58 times in their illustrious careers, but only two of those meetings have been in the last eight of a major.

The first of those was in their first meeting, which happened to be at the same stage at Roland Garros back in 2006.

Nadal progressed to the semi-finals on that occasion as Djokovic retired at 6-4 6-4 down and the legendary Spaniard went on to defend his title and double his tally of major triumphs.

He has gone on to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires a record 13 times and no man can boast more than his tally of 21 grand slam titles.

Yet Nadal comes into the latest instalment of their rivalry under the lights on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the unfamiliar position of not being a strong favourite to prevail.

While world number one and defending champion Djokovic has not dropped a set in his four matches in Paris, Nadal needed five sets to get the better of Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday.

Nadal had to draw on all of his fight, skill and experience to see off the Canadian in an enthralling contest that had spectators on the edge of their seats for four hours and 21 minutes.

Djokovic beat Nadal in four sets the last time they faced each other in this tournament last year and the Serb went on to be crowned French Open champion for the second time.

The top seed from Belgrade would move level with Nadal's haul of major crowns if he triumphs at Roland Garros once again on Sunday.

Djokovic holds a superior record of 30-28 in his head-to-head with Nadal, but the latter has won seven of their nine matches at Roland Garros.

Nadal started his favourite tournament with only five matches on clay under his belt this season after recovering from a foot injury, but he is relishing the challenge of facing one of his biggest rivals.

He said: "I didn't play this kind of matches for the last three months, so it's going to be a big challenge for me. Of course he already won I think nine matches in a row, winning in Rome and now winning here in straight sets every match.

"Probably he will be confident. I know what my situation is, and I accept it well. I am gonna fight for it, that's it."

Djokovic hopes being the fresher of the two will be crucial.

"Nadal is obviously a well-anticipated match I think when the draw came out for a lot of people. I'm glad that I didn't spend too much time on the court up to quarter-finals, knowing that playing him in Roland Garros is always a physical battle, along with everything else," he said.

"It's a huge challenge and probably the biggest one that you can have here in Roland Garros."

While Djokovic did not spend much time on court in the first week in Paris, he could be in for a late night when the two tussle in what could be yet another epic.

Sixteen years after their rivalry began with a Roland Garros quarter-final, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will do battle again in the last eight of the French Open.

Nadal promised he will be "focused" for the big occasion, set to come on Tuesday, while Djokovic said he was ready for "a physical battle, along with everything else".

They could hardly have had more contrasting wins to set up that eagerly awaited match, however, with Djokovic enjoying a 6-1 6-3 6-3 Sunday stroll past Diego Schwartzman, before Nadal was pushed almost to his limit by Felix Auger-Aliassime, scraping a 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory in four hours and 21 minutes.

Auger-Aliassime has Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, on his coaching team now, but the 21-year-old Canadian played down that factor before the match, and it was a mere sideshow to the spectacle that unfolded.

Now Nadal and Djokovic can prepare for centre stage. The illustrious pair have never collided as early as the quarter-final stage at any other grand slam, but their clash in Paris will be a third such last-eight clash at the French major.

All matches considered, it will be a 59th career meeting, with Djokovic up to now holding a 30-28 lead in the head-to-head.

Nadal leads 10-7 in their grand slam matches, however, and has a 7-2 record in their Roland Garros past encounters, albeit losing the last of those in last year's semi-final.

The very first match between the pair came at Roland Garros in the 2006 quarter-finals, when Djokovic retired at 6-4 6-4 behind, giving up due to a back injury during the first game of the third set.

Nine years later, Djokovic thrashed Nadal 7-5 6-3 6-1 at the same stage to end the Spaniard's five-year all-conquering reign on the French capital's clay courts.

Djokovic called the upcoming reunion "a well-anticipated match", and he was delighted to get the job done quickly against an overwhelmed Schwartzman. The world number one has yet to drop a set in four matches in Paris, and that follows on from his triumph at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome where he raced to the title without dropping a set either.

Assessing the Nadal prospect, Djokovic said: "I'm glad that I didn't spend too much time on the court myself up to the quarter-finals, knowing that playing him in Roland Garros is always a physical battle, along with everything else."

The "everything else" element of that may mean the feverish backing that Nadal is likely to receive, but Djokovic wants his tennis to do the talking.

"It's a huge challenge and probably the biggest one that you can have here in Roland Garros," said the Serbian. "I'm ready for it. I like the way I have been feeling, the way I have been hitting the ball. I will focus on what I need to do."

This is a first match of the year between Djokovic and Nadal. They have played each other at least once every year since that 2006 first encounter.

After describing Auger-Aliassime as "without a doubt one of the best players in the world", Nadal, who is again battling the foot problem that has plagued his career, turned his focus to the man who surely currently tops that list.

Nadal is nevertheless one ahead of Djokovic on the all-time list of most grand slam titles, having won the Australian Open in January when Djokovic was prevented from competing to move to 21 major successes.

Booing broke out when Djokovic's name was mentioned in Nadal's post-match on-court interview, an early indication that the record 13-time French Open champion will have the crowd's support.

"Of course we know each other well. We have a lot of history together," Nadal said. "He came here after winning Rome, and for me it has been not the ideal situation to arrive here.

"But here we are in Roland Garros, it is my favourite place without a doubt, and the only thing I can tell you is I will be focused. I don't know what will happen, but the only thing I can guarantee is I am going to fight until the end."

The last time Nadal and Djokovic met so early in any tournament was in May 2016 on clay in Rome, when Djokovic beat Nadal in straight sets but went on to lose to Andy Murray in the final.

Since then there have been four semi-finals and five finals between the pair, Nadal edging those matches five wins to four. This is knife-edge tennis, not to be missed.

Rafael Nadal set up the blockbuster quarter-final against Novak Djokovic that the French Open has been waiting for, but he was pushed all the way by Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The 13-time champion emerged as a winner by a 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 scoreline in four hours and 21 minutes of dramatic duelling on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Those inside the stadium court roared with the fervour of football supporters as Nadal crossed the winning line, a day after watching his beloved Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the Champions League final at the Stade de France.

If defending champion Djokovic watched this, he would have observed chinks in the Nadal armour, but the great Spaniard's commitment to his craft remains resolute. He hates losing, could not abide the thought of tumbling out in the fourth round, and duly pulled out every stop to avoid that happening.

Looking ahead to the tussle with Djokovic, Nadal said afterwards: "I don't know what will happen, but the only thing I can guarantee is I am going to fight until the end."

Nadal dropped serve in the fourth game of the match and again in the sixth to trail 5-1, and he began the recovery from there, snatching a break back.

Although he had been unable to retrieve the opening set, Nadal was suddenly dialled in. At 35, coming up for 36 in the coming week, he is 14 years Auger-Aliassime's senior and has a dodgy foot, but Nadal's movement was somehow still that of a young man.

From 3-3 in the second set, Nadal won six of the next seven games to take command, soon snatching a second break in set three as he accelerated away from a player who until this year had never won a match at Roland Garros.

Making it to the fourth round signifies progress on Auger-Aliassime's part but facing the master of these courts was always a tall order. It was to the ninth seed's enormous credit that he gave the match a fresh twist by breaking twice early in the fourth set and forcing the decider.

At 4-3 in the fifth, on serve, Nadal had a break-point opportunity and his tiring legs carried him to stunning heights when he moved Auger-Aliassime into trouble at the net with a delicious, dipping backhand, and then dashed towards the net to dink a winner out of his opponent's reach.

This time Auger-Aliassime did not come back. On match point in the next game, Nadal sent a forehand into an open court after manoeuvring Auger-Aliassime out of position once more, and it brought the house down. He now has 109 wins from 112 singles matches at this tournament.

Data slam: Nadal goes the distance, finds a way

Only three times has Nadal played a fifth set at the French Open, and he has won them all, defeating John Isner in the 2011 first round and Djokovic in the 2013 semi-finals, and now Auger-Aliassime.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 47/41
Auger-Aliassime – 50/54

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 3/4
Auger-Aliassime – 7/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/22
Auger-Aliassime – 4/9

Rafael Nadal lost a first set at Roland Garros for the first time since 2018 as he went behind to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Canadian Auger-Aliassime took the opening set of the pair's fourth-round match at the French Open 6-3.

It put Nadal, a 13-time champion at Roland Garros, on the back foot as he hunted a win that will tee up a quarter-final tie against Novak Djokovic, who defeated Diego Schwartzman earlier on Sunday.

And, according to ATP Media, it was the first time Nadal has lost an opening set at the French Open in four years, when he went behind to Schwartzman in the quarter-finals.

Nadal came back to win that match 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 en route to clinching his 11th Roland Garros success, and the second of four on the bounce.

Like in 2018, Nadal hit back to win the second set 6-3 against Auger-Aliassime, hauling himself level after a disappointing start.

Novak Djokovic is on course to face Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarter-final after defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3 6-3.

Djokovic had not dropped a set in his last eight matches, dating back to his Internazionali d'Italia win, and had little trouble extending that run in the fourth round on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

World number 16 Schwartzman offered brief resistance to hold in a lengthy opening service game, but the Serbian managed to break his opponent on his next serve before going on to claim the first set with ease.

Defending Roland Garros champion Djokovic capitalised on an error-strewn Schwartzman performance in the first set, but it was the 35-year-old who faltered in the second as he went 3-0 down.

Djokovic made numerous mistakes at the net with his wayward backhand costing him, but he responded in emphatic fashion, rallying to win the next six games, and Schwartzman failed to recover.

World number one Djokovic broke to make it 4-2 in the final set, with Schwartzman left lamenting a break point squandered in the previous game.

Djokovic eased over the line to book his place in the last eight, where Nadal will be his opponent if the Spaniard defeats Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Data Slam: Djokovic reaches 16th quarter-final

Djokovic eased into a record-extending 16th French Open quarter-final, while Nadal could match that feat later on Sunday. In the overall grand slam quarter-final count, Roger Federer leads with 58, with Djokovic on 51 and Nadal on 45.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 28/31
Schwartzman – 23/45

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 3/1
Schwartzman – 1/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 6/11
Schwartzman – 1/8

Toni Nadal's loyalties will be split between nephew Rafael and current charge Felix Auger-Aliassime after the French Open served up a delicious last-16 clash.

Known popularly on the tour as Uncle Toni, the man who was at superstar Nadal's side for so many of his greatest triumphs signed up to coach Canadian Auger-Aliassime last year.

Nadal and 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime have had just one past competitive meeting, three years ago on clay in Madrid, but they will go head to head in Paris in the fourth round, and the prospect could hardly be more appetising.

According to Rafael Nadal, who says he has "zero problem" with the scenario, Uncle Toni "wants the best for me".

But Toni Nadal has been hired by Auger-Aliassime, so in theory, he should want the best for the man who grew up in Quebec, too.

Auger-Aliassime earned a hard-fought 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 win over Serbian Filip Krajinovic on Friday, while Nadal fended off Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp for the loss of only nine games.

There is seemingly no prospect of the Nadals staying away from one another ahead of the tussle.

"I already talked with Toni after my match," said Rafael Nadal after sinking the hopes of Van de Zandschulp.

"For me, it's very simple. He's my uncle. I don't think he will be able to want me to lose, without a doubt, but he's a professional and he's with another player.

"I don't know what's gonna happen, if he's gonna stay in the box or not, but I don't care. I have zero problem with that. So it's not a story at all for me. I know what the feelings are that we have between each other. I know he wants the best for me."

Nadal said he had no issue with Uncle Toni working for another player, adding: "He's old enough to make his own decisions, no?

"I can't thank him enough for all the things that he did for me during so many years. I don't have any problem with any position that he's making. I want the best for him, and he wants the best for me. We are family more than anything else.

"Not only family; we are a family that stay together all the time. We are in the same village. We spend time in the academy together. We lived incredible emotions together. So he's not only an uncle. He's more than that."

All of which may have made for interesting listening for Auger-Aliassime, who has joined Nadal in the world's top 10 since their meeting three years ago, with the Canadian at a career-high ninth in the rankings.

Auger-Aliassime's clay-court form has been patchy this season, and it would be a major surprise if he took the scalp of the 13-time French Open champion, who is defying ongoing foot pain to keep his career going.

Toni Nadal joined Frederic Fontang in Auger-Aliassime's coaching set-up, and it may be the latter who does much of the tactical planning for the next match.

"I don't know if I need insight on how Rafa plays, to be honest," said Auger-Aliassime. "I think we all know what he does well.

"It was black and white from the first time we started working together. We knew it was a possibility that eventually I would play Rafa when I'm working with Toni. And actually now he's present here in this grand slam. But I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the match.

"From my part it's another match, another opportunity to try to play a good match and win, but of course it's very difficult. I don't know how Toni feels. Maybe we should ask him, but he hasn't talked to me about it."

Auger-Aliassime called for observers to consider the "bigger picture", and what Toni and his nephew, the record-holding 21-time men's grand slam winner, achieved together.

"It's one match, let's play, but his career and everything is much bigger than this," said the Canadian.

Rafael Nadal intends to attend the Champions League final between his beloved Real Madrid and Liverpool, despite the ongoing French Open.

Paris' Stade de France plays host to the Champions League showpiece on Saturday, with Madrid aiming for a 14th European Cup as Liverpool look to add to their EFL Cup and FA Cup successes this season.

Meanwhile, across the city in the French capital, Nadal remains in contention at Roland Garros after defeating Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3 6-2 6-4 on Friday.

Madrid great Zinedine Zidane was in attendance as the Spaniard cruised to victory, with the 35-year-old setting up a last-16 clash with Felix Auger-Aliassime.

While Nadal did not get to converse with Zidane, he was aware of the Frenchman's presence as the record 21-time grand slam winner outlined his plans to make the short trip to support Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid.

"I didn't see him, but I knew it was him, I knew he was there because I was listening to the crowd shouting his name all the time," Nadal told reporters when asked about Zidane. 

"So I imagine he was there, but I didn't have the chance to see him after my match or talk with him at all.

"Tomorrow, let's see how I wake up, because, you never know with my body how the surprises are there.

"But if nothing happens, and I expect nothing happens, and if I'm able to have the right practice tomorrow, my intention and my goal is to be there [at the Stade de France]."

Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 at the French Open as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

Nadal breezed past Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where the Spaniard had few difficulties on Court Suzanne-Lenglen against world number 29 Van de Zandschulp.

The pair exchanged breaks to begin the match, but the 13-time winner at Roland Garros soon took control as he only lost four points on his service in the first set, all of which came in the first game.

Van de Zandschulp continued to struggle in the second set as Nadal triumphed in a lengthy third game to break again, before following suit in the Dutchman's next service to further his advantage en route to taking a two-set lead.

World number five Nadal again opened the third set by battling to break Van de Zandschulp twice and had the opportunity to go 5-0 up with points in hand.

The Dutchman fought back to win three straight games before claiming another, leaving the set finely poised at 5-4 to Nadal.

However, the 35-year-old Nadal regained his composure to wrap up victory and will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Filip Krajinovic.

Data Slam: Nadal on course for Djokovic meeting

Only Novak Djokovic (325) and Roger Federer (369) have more grand slam match wins than Nadal (301), who remains on course to meet the world number one in the quarter-final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 25/13
Van de Zandschulp – 19/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 2/1
Van de Zandschulp – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/12
Van de Zandschulp – 2/3

World number one Novak Djokovic highlighted the joy of having fans back in full attendance after he collected his second consecutive straight sets win to advance to the third round of the French Open, beating Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

In his first-round fixture against Yoshihito Nishioka, Djokovic won 55 per cent of the total points in the first set, and increased that number in the second and third.

This time, however, it was Molcan who was slowly improving as the match wore on, as Djokovic won 70 per cent of the first-set points, 57 per cent in the second and 53 per cent as he was taken to a tie-breaker in the third.

Speaking to the media after his win, the Serbian star said he feels in good touch, and gave credit to his "tricky opponent".

"I'm pleased with the way I'm feeling on the court [and] the way I’ve been striking the ball," he said.

"I think today was also under challenging conditions and playing against a specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent and coming off from the [Lyon] final last week. 

"It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well."

He went on to discuss how energising it is to have a full crowd after there was a limited capacity for his 2021 triumph.

"It's great to see the crowd back [and] the full capacity on all courts," he said. "Lots of young people, lots of kids, this is something that I really love to see.

"It always gives you energy. For me at this stage of my career, a crowd and this energy of people coming to watch me play is one of the biggest reasons why I keep on competing [and] playing professional tennis."

Djokovic will play Slovakian Aljaz Bedene in the third round, and despite being aware of his collision course with Rafael Nadal set for the quarter-finals, he said looking ahead that far serves little purpose.

"You are aware what's going on with the other guys, at least in my case, and I know that everyone else is watching everybody else," he said.

"[But] that cannot be dominating most of your time and energy that you invest in a day. 

"So you are aware, but then of course it's really not up to you what they do. It's what you have to do, win matches and make good results."

Rafael Nadal recorded his 300th grand slam match win by easing into the third round of the French Open, beating Corentin Moutet in straight sets.

The 'King of Clay' is in search of a record-extending 22nd major title at Roland Garros, where he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic last year.

On this evidence, Nadal is in the form to re-establish his dominion of the tournament, overcoming a spirited home hope, who enjoyed the benefit of vocal support from the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Wednesday evening.

Nadal will see room for improvement having failed to serve the match out in the third set, but a 6-3 6-1 6-4 win was never in doubt.

The tone for a procession was established when Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and Moutet's dream of playing his idol soon appeared to be turning into a nightmare.

Nadal won the second set in commanding fashion behind an excellent first serve, but found Moutet's resistance more stern in the third.

That spirit was exemplified by Moutet breaking Nadal's serve with the Spaniard ahead 5-3. However, Nadal immediately responded in kind, dominating Moutet from the back of the court and wrapping up a landmark victory when the Frenchman sent a lob long at the end of an entertaining rally.

Nadal will face Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round.

 

Data Slam: Nadal 107-3 opponents

As well as being his 300th grand slam match win, Nadal's triumph was his 107th at Roland Garros. He has still only tasted defeat in Paris three times. The fifth seed won all 11 of his first-serve points in the second set of another impressive display.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 27/22
Moutet – 16/24

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 1/2
Moutet – 0/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/12
Moutet – 2/4

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have paid tribute to the "charismatic" Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the 37-year-old brought his 18-year professional career to a close.

Tsonga, who reached a career-high ranking of world number five in 2012, confirmed in April that he would retire at the culmination of his French Open campaign.

That duly came in the first round on Tuesday as he bowed out to world number eight Casper Ruud 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

He retires having won, according to Opta, 464 Tour-level matches since September 2004.

Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Nadal, Federer and Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

He is also one of three players, alongside Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych, who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

A video tribute was played on court after his defeat to Ruud, which featured messages from the sport's most iconic players.

Federer said: "I wanted to congratulate you on an amazing career and it was a pleasure to share the court with and play against you, even to lose against you!

"We had some great battles. Enjoy the moment in Paris with all your friends and family, in front of all your adoring spectators."

Djokovic added: "Jo is one of the most charismatic tennis players ever to play the game. I was very happy to share the court with him many times.

"We get along well and he's a really nice guy. He brought a lot of positive attention and popularity to our sport not just because of his dynamic game style, but also his charisma and his personality, so it's a big loss for professional men's tennis to have him retire.

"I wish him all the best, and he definitely should be happy about his career and his achievements. He's made his mark and his legacy in our sport."

Nadal said: "He is very charismatic. I've known him since we were kids; he is a good guy and I think he brings a lot of positive things to our sport so I'm sad to see him going but we are getting old so it's going to happen for everyone."

Speaking at a media conference after his defeat, Tsonga said he would now spend some time relaxing before focusing on the development of his tennis academy.

He said he will miss the adrenaline of playing on court, as well as how he was able to express himself completely when competing.

"It's adrenaline, to step onto a big court like this one," he said. "It's adrenaline you can feel when you have 15,000 people shouting out your name, supporting you on the court.

"This is what I'm going to miss – the contact with the crowd. And with those who have been supporting me for all these years.

"You know, in real life, it's sometimes difficult to be intense. You don't want to shock, you don't want to be too rude, you don't want to hurt somebody.

"You always try to act to be nice, to be sociable. But, you know, on the court, you can express your fever. You can express everything about you, and it's sometimes freeing."

Andrey Rublev is unsure what the best course of action is ahead of Wimbledon, but hopes tennis can "work together" to ensure the grand slam goes ahead, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic targeting history. 

Wimbledon was last week stripped of its ranking points by the WTA and ATP over the decision from The All England Club to ban Belarusian and Russian players – including Rublev – from competing.

That decision was made in the midst of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

With ranking points now not on offer, several high-profile players, including former WTA number one Naomi Osaka, have suggested they may skip the tournament.

Rublev might have no choice not to compete at Wimbledon, unless The All England Club scraps the ban altogether, but he says it is of utmost importance that tennis comes together to find a solution.

And Rublev believes the very elite players – such as Nadal and Djokovic – will compete anyway, regardless of ranking points or prize money, as he suggested tennis owes the duo, along with fellow great Roger Federer.

He told a news conference: "I don't know, because I haven't talked with any player about it, especially top ones. I guess the top players, especially Rafa, Novak, they are not playing now for points or for money.

"They are playing to be the first in history who achieve this amount of slams. So they are playing for a different thing. That's why it's very important to work together, to keep this amazing glory that we are having now, because of these players.

"If we are not going to work together, we just destroy it. What Roger, what Rafa, what Novak is doing, they did all these years. 

"They are other players from another generation, and we have to respect this, and that's why somehow we need finally to defend each other. Players need to defend the tournaments. Tournaments need to defend the players.

"Like this, tennis will grow, grow, grow a lot, because now all the success of tennis is only because of these three players, because of Roger, Rafa and Novak."

Rublev came through his first-round match at Roland Garros on Tuesday, defeating Kwon Soon-woo 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 6-4.

However, the seventh seed lashed out after losing the first set, recklessly hitting a ball out onto the court as he approached his chair, before slamming a water bottle into the court in frustration.

"I was quite tight, and I had a lot of emotions and I tried to really control them," Rublev said. 

"I tried to understand the situation. Be positive. I was able to be quiet and just be positive basically until the end of the first set. Then, yes, I lost my mind for a moment, and of course I regret what I did.

"It's unacceptable to hit the ball the way I hit it. It's more, I don't know, better even, if I just hit the racquet on the seat, because the ball can affect – I mean, it's not about me – it can affect someone. That's when the problem comes.

"This is unprofessional from my side, and hopefully I will never do it again."

Rafael Nadal declared he must improve every aspect of his game despite dominating Jordan Thompson in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

Nadal arrived at Roland Garros with just five matches under his belt in the clay-court season after recovering from a foot injury, but cruised to a 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory over Thompson on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

That moved him beyond Roger Federer's record number of victories at a single grand slam with 106 from 109 matches, with the Swiss great's 105 coming at Wimbledon.

Nadal, bidding to win the Paris major for a record-extending 14th time and take his overall haul to 22, will face Corentin Moutet in the second round and the fifth seed says there is plenty of room for improvement.

The Spaniard said: "I need to improve in all ways. I think I need to improve my movement, the speed of my forehand, the speed I think could be better and should be better. 

"I did things well, for a while was good. The conditions were heavier than usual here, very humid, the court. I don't know, [maybe] having the roof on for a long time.

"I am happy with the performance. It has been a positive start. Then of course, the kind of player that I am, I'm always looking for something else, looking for better things. 

"That's what I am going to try to find in my practice tomorrow and then in the next match."

Nadal says there is no point dwelling on the disappointment of not having played on his favourite surface as often as he usually has before the second major of the year.

He added: "I got injured, and that's it. What happened is past, and here we are. We are in Roland Garros. I am here to try my best.

"And how is my level of confidence, how the things would be or if I didn't get injured, I don't know. We will never know.

"I'm not a big fan of think about the things that could happen if – 'if' is a dangerous word.  You have to accept the moment to accept the moment, to accept the situation and to have the confidence to put all my effort in every single day, to get better and better. Let's see how far I can keep going."

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