Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova shared a court at the Italian Open yesterday as the two practiced together.

Both players are competing in Rome as they continue their final clay-court preparations for the French Open later this month.

And Sharapova, a two-time winner of the French Open, has revealed how the opportunity to rally with the Bailey

“I saw he was practising on the court right before me,” explained Sharapova.


“And I said to my team ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if I just came up to Rafa and said ‘would you hit a couple balls with me?’

“And they’re like, yeah, what’s wrong with that? And I was like, a lot of things.

“There’s a lot of things wrong with just coming up to Rafa.

“They’re like, no, you should. It’s not like you’re asking him to go on a date. And so I did.

“He probably thought I was really weird. I think he still thinks I’m really weird.”

Nadal won his first match of the Italian Open with a convincing 6-1, 6-0 win over Damir Dzumhur this afternoon to reach the Round of 16.

Meanwhile, Sharapova beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, in her first round match and faces Dominika Cibulkova this afternoon.