Alexander Zverev [1296x729]
Alexander Zverev [1296x729] (Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Rafael Nadal is in the French Open field after all, and the 14-time champion was set up for a challenging first-round matchup against Alexander Zverev from Thursday's draw.

Nadal had been coy about whether he would compete at Roland Garros after two seasons of off-and-on action because of injuries, including a surgically repaired hip that forced him to miss his favorite tournament a year ago.

After a loss at the Italian Open this month, Nadal said he needed to think about whether to play in Paris. But he has been practicing on the red clay at Roland Garros this week, and his name was officially in the bracket.

Unseeded.

His matchup against No. 4-ranked Zverev is a rematch of their 2022 semifinal that ended when Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle.

"It's coming a little early in the tournament surely," French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said about the Nadal-Zverev pairing. "This is good news for neither of them."

Nadal is 7-3 in head-to-head matchups with Zverev and has won five of their six meetings on clay, losing only in the 2021 Madrid quarterfinals.

In other notable men's matchups, No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic will begin his title defense against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Andy Murray's likely final French Open will start against Stan Wawrinka in the first round. Carlos Alcaraz will begin against a qualifier, and newly crowned Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner will first face American Christopher Eubanks.

Djokovic could meet Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals in a potential rematch of last year's final.

On the women's side, No. 1 Iga Swiatek and No. 3 Coco Gauff will each face a qualifier in the first round and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will open against Erika Andreeva.

Among the possible quarterfinal opponents for Swiatek are four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, Miami Open winner Danielle Collins and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.

The French Open begins Sunday.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.