Nine-time Italian Open winner Rafael Nadal has been handed a tricky draw at this year’s ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome as he will face US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta first up while Stefanos Tsitsipas could await him in the semi-finals.
Nadal will finally make his long-awaited return to action following the hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he couldn’t have asked for a more difficult draw.
His compatriot Carreno Busta, who famously advanced to the quarter-final of the US Open last week after world No 1 Novak Djokovic was defaulted from their fourth-round clash, will be his opponent in the second round.
Eighth seed Diego Schwartzman could await in the quarter-final while third seed Tsitsipas is also in the bottom half of the draw and is likely to be his semi-final opponent.
British No 1 Dan Evans is also in the Nadal quarter and he will open his campaign against Hubert Hurkacz with Milos Raonic a possible second-round opponent.
Tsitsipas, meanwhile, faces a tough opening clash as he will take on either Benoit Paire from France of Italian wildcard Jannik Sinner in the second round.