Zinedine Zidane has long been a supporter of the French Open. The former World Cup winner is a fan of Rafael Nadal, and is backing him to win his 22nd Grand Slam even though there is fierce competition from the younger generation. “The new generation is great, but I am from the older one. We’ll try and keep pushing Rafael Nadal [as the favourite for the French Open] if he can,” said Zidane.
Zinedine Zidane has said that 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is his personal favourite for the French Open despite the newer generation making a strong claim.
The former French international was spotted at Roland-Garros, watching Nadal take on Botic van de Zandschulp in a standard victory, winning 6-3 6-2 6-4.
“The new generation is great, but I am from the older one. We’ll try and keep pushing Rafael Nadal [as the favourite for the French Open] if he can,” said Zidane in an interview with Roland-Garros.
“He’s still here, so it would be great. But it’s true that the new generation with Carlos Alcaraz will eventually take over.”
This isn’t the first time Zidane has attended the French Open, having done so back in 2005.
In fact, it was Zidane who awarded him the trophy when Nadal won it back then.
In 2005, Rafa Nadal received his first ever Grand Slam trophy from Zinedine Zidane at the French Open 🤩🏆
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 30, 2022
“He’s won a lot of cups since,” joked the former Real Madrid star.
On the stadium changing, Zidane said: “Even inside, it’s not just the stadium. Everything’s changed. Things evolve, which is good.
“It’s always a pleasure to be here and share moments like this in such a relaxed atmosphere and watch great athletes do their thing.
“Roland Garros is such a legendary place, so whenever we have the chance to come here, we seize it.”
The win for Nadal means that the Spaniard will head to the fourth round, facing off against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
In tennis, new generations have come and attempted to make their mark; however, despite being well into their 30s, Nadal and Novak Djokovic have consistently remained the most consistent and the safest bet to win the most Grand Slam titles as of late.
Alcaraz will attempt to have something to say about that, as the 19-year-old heads to the fourth round after beating 21-year-old Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-4 6-2.
Korda’s father, Petr Korda, was the runner-up at the 1992 French Open, falling short against former world No. 1 Jim Courier.
The victory means that Alcaraz becomes the youngest man in the French Open’s fourth round since Novak Djokovic in 2006.
“I am very proud,” Alcaraz said after his win.
“In every match, I am trying to have fun. I love playing out there.
“I love playing in this kind of court and I love playing in France. I enjoy every single second.”