Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem will have to fight for his place at the French Open after missing out on Tuesday's wild-card invitations.

Thiem will retire later this year due to a persistent wrist injury that has derailed his career but will likely need to battle through the qualifying rounds to appear at Roland Garros for a final time.

The two-time French Open semi-finalist is currently six places away from a main-draw spot for the upcoming major, with Richard Gasquet among the eight male players to secure a wild-card invitation.

Frenchman Gasquet will equal Feliciano Lopez's 21 tournaments at Roland Garros, the joint-most appearances of any player in the Open Era.

In the women's tournament, world number 99 Alize Cornet was also invited on a wild-card pick and will appear in a women's singles grand slam main draw for the 72nd time in her career.

That is the third most in the Open Era for major appearances, behind only Venus Williams (93) and Serena Williams (81).

Jannik Sinner says that he is aiming to make a return for Roland-Garros if he is "100 per cent" fit following a hip issue.

The world number two withdrew from the Madrid Open last week ahead of his quarter-final tie with Felix Auger-Aliassime due to the injury.

Sinner confirmed on Saturday that he will not be playing in what would be a home tournament in Rome.

Providing an update on his progress on Sunday, Sinner said: "I went back to Monte-Carlo, we did some more tests, which made me take this hard decision because I have to skip the most special tournament of the year for me.

"I have to accept it even if it hurts me and many fans. We realised something is not totally good. If it is not 100 per cent healed, I'll stay out a little longer. Caring for the body is much more important than everything else.

"I’ll just try to get back to 100 per cent as soon as possible, hopefully trying to play in Paris and then Wimbledon and all the rest.

"We'll take our time, there's no rush and, hopefully, I can get back very, very soon."

Rafael Nadal is unlikely to match Novak Djokovic's haul of 24 grand slam titles, but the Spaniard is capable of capping his remarkable career with one last Roland Garros triumph next year. 

That is the opinion of Feliciano Lopez, who hopes to see Nadal overcome his injury woes to enjoy a triumphant send-off in 2024.

Nadal's total of 22 grand slam titles is only bettered by Djokovic among male players, with the Serbian matching Margaret Court's overall record by winning the US Open.

Djokovic has won three of four grand slams in 2023, with injuries leading Nadal to miss the last three majors after he was eliminated from the Australian Open by Mackenzie McDonald in January.

Nadal confirmed earlier this year that 2024 would "probably" be his last year on the tour, and former world number nine Lopez is desperate to see his compatriot go out on a high.

Asked if Nadal could add to his 14 French Open titles – a single-slam record – next year, Lopez told Stats Perform: "With Rafa, you never know, because he has shown on other occasions that he was able to come back stronger, even when he had significant injuries. 

"It will depend a lot on how he feels physically, that will be key. I wouldn't be surprised to see him competing at a good level next year and I would love for him to say goodbye by winning Roland Garros. 

"It would be a dream for me and many people to see him lift that cup once again.

"It is very difficult for me to talk about Rafa, because he has changed the way we see sport in Spain. Before Rafa we had great athletes, but none transcended sport the way he has.

"Rafa's figure in Spanish sport and in the lives of Spanish people… there will be none like him. 

"There have been many joys that he has given us. He has given us examples in many situations outside of sports. There will be a before and after [Nadal] in Spanish sport."

While Nadal now looks highly unlikely to match the evergreen Djokovic for total grand slam titles, Lopez does not believe that will concern the 37-year-old.

"The issue of numbers and who is bigger than who fuels the media a lot," Lopez added. "At this moment in Rafa's life, I don't think he is thinking about that.

"With the numbers, we can see who won the most things, but that is not the question. I want him to return so he can compete again for one last year at the highest level. 

"Hopefully he wins one or two more grand slams, but right now, his goal is to recover and be physically competitive. 

"That is what Rafa needs and wants, because if he is not feeling well enough to compete, it will be very difficult for him to be able to play many tournaments next year." 

Rafael Nadal will be contemplating the best way to call time on his stellar career after injury denied him the chance to defend his French Open title, believes Tommy Haas.

Nadal has not played since suffering a second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, having struggled with a hip injury during his straight-sets defeat to Mackenzie McDonald.

The 22-time grand slam champion last week admitted defeat in his bid to appear at Roland Garros, where he has triumphed 14 times – a record for any player at a single grand slam.

When announcing his withdrawal, Nadal said 2024 would "probably" be his final year on the ATP tour and outlined his intention of making farewell appearances at "important tournaments".

Nadal's long-time rival Roger Federer retired surrounded by several of his fellow greats at last year's Laver Cup, and Haas believes the Spaniard will be eyeing a similar send-off. 

"At some point, time catches up with all of us and that's the reality," Haas, a four-time grand slam semi-finalist, told Stats Perform.

"I think at this stage, I'm sure he's been contemplating the idea: 'When would I do it? How would I do it? How would it come together organically?' 

"We saw Roger Federer doing it last year and the way he was able to retire in London at the Laver Cup with all of his rivals and friends on the court. I happened to be there live, it was an amazing way to finish such an incredible career. 

"Look at Pete Sampras. He won his first slam at the US Open and he won his last match at the US Open, winning the slam there on home turf – there couldn't have been a better fairy tale. 

"I think you look at that and at the same time, you have to stay focused on what's happening today and you can't look too far ahead."

 

Though Nadal's total of 22 grand slam singles titles is a joint record in the men's game (alongside Novak Djokovic), the Spaniard's injury record has denied him several chances to add to that tally.

Nadal played all four grand slams for the first time since 2019 last year but was forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon semi-finals, and Haas says the Spaniard's fitness will dictate his future.   

"It always depends, obviously, on the injuries. 'How bad is it and can I recover from it?' I'm sure Rafa is constantly thinking about those situations," Haas added.

"He's been saying he still wants to play for another year or two, which would obviously be amazing for the sport. 

"On clay, I think he has a better chance of keeping the body in a better shape than on gruelling hardcourts. He obviously plays long matches, which is tough on the body."

The main draw of the French Open begins on Sunday, with Nadal's compatriot Carlos Alcaraz the top male seed as he bids for a second major title.

Boris Becker fears Alexander Zverev's injury problems may impact his fellow German's chances of winning a first grand slam at the upcoming French Open.

Zverev reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, but his chances of winning a maiden grand slam title were ended when an ankle injury forced him to retire from his last-four clash with eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

Zverev subsequently required surgery to repair damaged ligaments before a bone edema suffered in September further delayed his return to the court.

The German finally made his competitive comeback in December but struggled at the Australian Open the following month, crashing out in the second round to unheralded American Michael Mmoh.

With the 26-year-old heading to Roland Garros later this month looking to reach the semi-finals for the third straight year, Becker has serious doubts over his compatriot's chances of claiming victory.

Asked whether he felt Zverev could come out on top, Becker told Stats Perform: "I hope so. I hope so.

"At the moment he is in a bit of a crisis because he had a very severe injury last year in the semi-final against Nadal. 

"He literally broke his ankle. He was out for seven months and just came back this year. So he's still struggling.

"I think for the title, I don't think anybody German [will win] this year. I think it'll be a Spaniard, it'll be a Serbian, it'll be an Italian, somebody like that."

The French Open was the only grand slam singles title that evaded Becker during his hugely successful career, with the tennis great winning three Wimbledon titles, two Australian Open crowns and the 1989 US Open.

The former world number one believes the beauty of tennis lies in individuals coping with pressure, explaining there is no opportunity to exploit the talents of others to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

"Tennis is a very important sport," Becker said. "It's an individual sport. You can actually see it with one player, whether he's winning or losing.

"In a team, sometimes people can hide behind the likes of [Lionel] Messi or [Kylian] Mbappe. You're still a World Cup winner, even though you know it was either Mbappe or Messi, right?

"In tennis, it's not possible. You have to be the better player and that is why tennis is such a powerful sport, because you see who is better with your own eyes."

Rafael Nadal missing the French Open this year would be a huge disappointment, though Emmanuel Cruze would prefer to look on the bright side.

Cruze is the head of the Villa Primrose Club, the host of the Bordeaux Challenger event, which Nadal declined an invitation to as he continues his recovery from injury.

The 36-year-old has not played since going out in the second round of the Australian Open in January.

Nadal has since dropped to 14th in the ATP rankings, and it is not yet clear if he will be fit to feature at Roland Garros, where he won a record-extending 14th French Open title last year.

However, Cruze told Stats Perform that while it would be sad to see Nadal miss the season's second major, it might signal a changing of the guard in Paris.

"We would all be very disappointed for the tournament, but maybe it will be a new era that will open for all the players, and especially you are talking about Spanish players," said Cruze.

"We need to keep in mind that [Carlos] Alcaraz is really performing extremely well, and is still very young also.

"Is he the future Nadal? We don't know, but definitely if Nadal is not playing at the French Open, it will be much more open for all other players.

"[It will be exciting] for the tournament itself, because if he's there and in good shape, people will say 'Okay, Nadal will win another title, and it's going to be boring'.

"We are not sure that he will be able to play the French Open and then for the next generation it's really something that will be very important for them, to be able to play the French without the pressure of Nadal."

Cruze is unsure if Nadal would be among the favourites even if he mustered a comeback in time for the tournament, which begins on May 29.

"He is over 30 and it's always more and more difficult to come back after a major injury, we have seen with [Roger] Federer, he wants to try to come back and win Wimbledon for the last time and finally was unable to do so because when you are out for six months and you are over 30, I think it's really difficult," he said.

"But [Nadal] is such a character and such a fantastic player [that] you never know. You never know. I'm not a doctor, I'm in the wine business so nothing to do with that, even if wine sometimes helps!"

As for Nadal's legacy in France, Cruze believes there should be a permanent tribute to the 22-time grand slam champion at Roland Garros.

"I think as soon as Nadal retires, he almost deserves a statue, because he is a legend," Cruze added.

"How could you imagine winning 14 times at the French Open, which probably is one of the most difficult [surfaces] because you're playing on clay courts, you spend sometimes three or four hours on the court, which is not the same on grass or on hard courts, so I think for French tennis lovers, he will be a legend for years.

"He's a legend, but normally with a legend, it is because you stopped your career, but he is already a legend, even if he is still playing."

Looking to the future, Cruze sees Nadal's compatriot Alcaraz as a possible heir apparent.

"I've never seen him physically, only on TV and that's it, but he's a very young guy and is performing extremely well," Cruze said of the world number two.

"I don't know about on grass, but for hard courts, he seems to be fine, so if he's fine with a hard court, he would normally be a good player on grass, so yeah he could be the next legend, why not? But so far the real [legend] is still Rafael Nadal, up until he retires."

Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic can secure a record-breaking triumph at the French Open, where the tennis great hopes Rafael Nadal will return to action.

Djokovic moved level with Nadal for the most grand slam singles titles among male players after clinching his 22nd major with January's success at the Australian Open.

The Serbian will have his sights on a landmark 23rd major triumph at Roland Garros, where the tournament starts on May 28, and Becker sees no reason for Djokovic not to break the record in Paris.

Former world number one Becker, a six-time major winner, told Stats Perform: "Do I believe Novak can win 23? Absolutely, I can.

"But it's not easy. Competition doesn't sleep."

 

Djokovic has made light work of said competition in recent years, though a return for 14-time French Open winner Nadal would throw the upcoming major wide open.

However, the Spaniard has not featured since sustaining a hip injury at the Australian Open in January, most recently pulling out of the Italian Open as he had not fully recovered.

"The question is Nadal, can he come back? Can he play in the French Open? I personally hope so," Becker added.

"I think tennis needs Nadal. We need him. And so hopefully he comes back and plays as a 14-time winner of Roland Garros.

"But Novak is healthy, he's fit. He wants to play so he's one of the favourites."

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Madrid Open, with the world number one struggling with an elbow injury just over a month before the start of the French Open.

The 22-time grand slam champion wore strapping on his right elbow at last week's Monte Carlo Masters, suffering a shock 6-4 5-7 4-6 defeat to Lorenzo Musetti in the third round.

Djokovic was back in action at the Srpska Open in Banja Luka this week, losing to fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic in the quarter-finals, but he sparked concerns regarding his injury on the eve of that tournament.

Djokovic described his elbow as "not in an ideal condition" on Tuesday, though he added it was "good enough" for him to continue his preparations for Roland Garros.

On Saturday, however, it was confirmed Djokovic would not compete at the upcoming Masters 1000 event in Madrid, which he has won on three previous occasions.

Djokovic's absence from the clay-court event, which finishes just three weeks before the French Open begins, leaves the 35-year-old facing a battle to be fit for the second grand slam of the year.

Djokovic will not be the only big-name absentee in Madrid, with Rafael Nadal withdrawing earlier this week as he continues to struggle with an injury to his left hip.

With Nadal's chances of participating at the French Open also in the balance, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said it was "hard to imagine" the event taking place without the 14-time winner.

Both Djokovic and Nadal will be targeting a record-breaking 23rd grand slam singles title if able to compete at the French Open, which will run from May 28 to June 11. 

Nick Kyrgios will play the French Open for the first time since 2017 next year because his partner wants to visit Paris, though he would prefer to stay at home.

Kyrgios has never been beyond the third round at Roland Garros, last appearing at the event in 2017 – when he suffered a second-round defeat against Kevin Anderson.

Last year, the Australian labelled the French Open "the worst grand slam" and called for the competition to be "taken off the calendar altogether".

However, Kyrgios now says he will end his absence from the Paris event, though his reasons for doing so are not tennis related.

"My girlfriend wants to know Paris, so I'm going to play at Roland Garros 2023," Kyrgios told reporters in Saudi Arabia.

"It will be good for me to earn some more money, although I would have preferred to stay at home.

"I know I can do great results on clay. I beat Roger [Federer], [Stan] Wawrinka, I played a final in Estoril. My girl wants to get to know the city so I will have to go this year."

Kyrgios achieved two of his four best grand slam runs in 2022, losing the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic before exiting the US Open at the quarter-final stage against Karen Khachanov.  

 

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career looks to have drawn to a close after the American lost to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday. 

Following a long piece in Vogue last month, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the tournament at Flushing Meadows would be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

Though Williams left a glimmer of a chance that she may yet play again, joking that she "always did love Australia", she may well have taken to the court for the last time. Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and done?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she still had one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would have been the perfect farewell, but it was not to be. Will that near-miss encourage her to take one more shot in Court's homeland next year?

 

The finals hurdle

Had Williams managed to reach the championship match in Queens, she would have equalled another record.

She headed into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record is now set to remain hers for many, many years.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 541 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career looks to have drawn to a close after the American lost to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday. 

Following a long piece in Vogue last month, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the tournament at Flushing Meadows would be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

Though Williams left a glimmer of a chance that she may yet play again, joking that she "always did love Australia", she may well have taken to the court for the last time. Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and done?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she still had one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would have been the perfect farewell, but it was not to be. Will that near-miss encourage her to take one more shot in Court's homeland next year?

 

The finals hurdle

Had Williams managed to reach the championship match in Queens, she would have equalled another record.

She headed into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record is now set to remain hers for many, many years.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 541 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career is drawing to a close after the American confirmed on Tuesday that the countdown has begun.

Following a long piece in Vogue, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the US Open – which begins in late August – will be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

Yet, her seemingly imminent retirement cannot be seen as a shock. At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

With Williams now reaching the end, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and counting?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she's still got one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would be the perfect farewell.

 

The finals hurdle

Even if Williams only reaches the championship match next month, she'll still be equalling a different record.

Assuming she does compete in Queens, Williams heads into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record will remain hers for many, many years if Williams cannot reach the finale at Flushing Meadows.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 539 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Alize Cornet claims several players contracted COVID-19 at last month's French Open, but kept the outbreak quiet in order to avoid mass withdrawals from the tournament.

Wimbledon has already been rocked by two high-profile male players withdrawing after testing positive for the virus, with last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic both pulling out ahead of scheduled first-round matches on Tuesday.

Now Cornet, who equalled Ai Sugiyama's all-time record of 62 consecutive grand slam main-draw appearances in a win over Yulia Putintseva on day two, claims there were cases at Roland Garros that did not come to light.

"At Roland Garros, there was a Covid epidemic, no one talked about it. In the locker room, everyone got it and we said nothing," she told L'Equipe.

"When it comes out in the press, with big players, it will start to set fire to the lake everywhere and that worries me a little.

"[2021 French Open winner Barbora] Krejcikova withdrew saying she had Covid, and the whole locker room was sick. 

"At some point, we all might have had the flu. The thing is, we have the symptoms, itchy throat… we play and everything is fine, it's fine. 

"At Roland, I think there have been a few cases and it's a tacit agreement between us. We are not going to self-test to get into trouble! 

"Afterwards, I saw girls wearing masks, maybe because they knew and didn't want to pass it on. You also have to have a civic spirit."

Rafael Nadal's latest grand slam triumph at the French Open is "unbelievable", says Roger Federer, who believes his rival "keeps raising the bar".

The Spaniard cruised through to both a record 14th success on clay at Roland Garros and a record-extending 22nd men's grand slam title with a straight sets demolition of Casper Ruud.

That made it two from two in 2022 for the 36-year-old, leaving him clear of both Federer and Novak Djokovic, who remain on 20 grand slam crowns each.

The former – who has enjoyed a strong sporting rivalry and friendship with Nadal throughout their intertwined careers – however has nothing but praise for his latest achievement.

"I didn't watch the final," Federer told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. "I watched the quarter-final [against Djokovic] a bit before I went to sleep.

"In general, it's just unbelievable what Rafa has achieved. The record of Pete Sampras, which I beat, was 14 grand slam titles.

"Now Rafa won the French Open 14 times. That's unbelievable. I was happy for him that he did it again.

"Hats off to Rafa. After the 10th, 11th time, I already thought: 'This can't be.' He keeps raising the bar. It's gigantic."

Federer has been unable to add to his own haul of grand slams, having missed the tail-end of 2021 and start of 2022 through injury as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

The 40-year-old Swiss star acknowledged he has not yet plotted anything more than competing in the Laver Cup and Basel Open in October, stressing he will focus on achieving full fitness rather than setting a return date.

"After Basel, the season is over anyway," he added. "It's important for me to get fit again so that I can train fully. Once I've done that, I can choose how many tournaments I play and where.

"The Laver Cup is a good start, I don't have to play five matches in six days.

"I will have be able to do that in Basel. That's why I have to prepare for it in practice. I'm curious myself what's still to come.

"But I'm hopeful, I've come a long way. I'm not far away. The next three or four months will be extremely important."

On a return to top-class tennis in 2023, Federer said that such a move remained the aim, adding: "Yes, definitely. How and where, I don't know yet. But that would be the idea. Definitely."

Alexander Zverev is determined to "come back stronger than ever" after undergoing ankle surgery on Tuesday. 

Zverev tore all three lateral ligaments in his right ankle during the second set of his French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal last week. 

The German is set to miss Wimbledon after his hopes of winning a first grand slam at Roland Garros came to a painful end. 

Zverev is ready to knuckle down with his rehabilitation after going under the knife in his homeland. 

Along with a picture of himself in his hospital bed giving the thumbs up, he posted on Instagram: "We all have our own journey in life. This is part of mine. 

"Next week I'll reach a career-high ranking of number two in the world, but this morning I had to undergo surgery. After further examination in Germany, we received confirmation that all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn. 

"To return to competition as quickly as possible, to ensure all the ligaments heal properly, and to reclaim full stability in my ankle, surgery was the best choice. My rehab starts now and I'll do everything to come back stronger than ever! 

"I am continuing to receive so many messages and would like to thank everyone once again for supporting me during such a difficult time." 

Nadal went on to beat Casper Ruud in the final in Paris on Sunday to claim a record-extending 14th French Open title, taking his astonishing tally of grand slam triumphs to 22. 

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