Giants collide as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are in same half of French Open draw
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are all in the same half of the draw for the French Open beginning on Sunday.
With Nadal having dropped behind Daniil Medvedev to third in the rankings, it raised the possibility of a lopsided draw, and so it has proved.
There can be no repeat of last year’s final, when Nadal defeated Djokovic to win a 20th Grand Slam title, with the pair seeded to meet in the last four.
Federer is a potential quarter-final opponent for Djokovic, although, given the 39-year-old’s lack of matches and stated target of hitting form on the grass, it would be something of a surprise if he made it that far.
Top seed Djokovic will open his campaign against American Tennys Sandgren while Nadal faces young Australian Alexei Popyrin and Federer meets a qualifier.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 27, 2021
Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who also opens against a qualifier, has reached two ATP Tour finals on clay in the last month and is a potential third-round opponent for Nadal, although he will first have to get past in-form Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
Medvedev, who reached his second slam final at the Australian Open but has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros, faces a tricky opener against in-form Kazakh Alexander Bublik.
Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the other big names in the bottom half while British number one Dan Evans – another player looking for a first victory at Roland Garros – meets Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.
In the women’s draw, defending champion Iga Swiatek opens against Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan and is in the same half as top seed Ashleigh Barty, who returns to Roland Garros for the first time since winning the title in 2019 and faces American Bernarda Pera first up.
Seventh seed Serena Williams is in the opposite half and meets Irina-Camelia Begu while second seed Naomi Osaka takes on another Romanian in Patricia Maria Tig, with both women short of match wins on clay.
With Harriet Dart losing in the final round of qualifying, Britain have just four representatives across the singles and neither Johanna Konta nor Heather Watson have shown encouraging form.
Konta, seeded 19 and defending ranking points from 2019’s semi-final, meets Sorana Cirstea of Romania, who beat her at the US Open last year, while Watson has won just one of her last seven matches and takes on Kazakh Zarina Diyas.
An interesting first-round match-up sees 2020 runner-up Sofia Kenin play former champion Jelena Ostapenko while Carla Suarez Navarro makes her return following successful cancer treatment against former US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Dominic Thiem on Emma Raducanu’s US Open win: ‘It’s one of the greatest achievements in women’s sport’
“Perhaps it is the greatest breakthrough of all time,” says Dominic Thiem.
‘Unfair that Novak Djokovic is always the bad guy and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the good guys’
“I hope he is treated a little more fairly,” says Boris Becker.
Venus Williams explains backstory behind photo with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at Met Gala
Just Venus, Serena and Maria enjoying a laugh in the bathroom at the Met Gala.
‘I think it’s gradually sinking in a bit more,’ says Emma Raducanu after ‘whirlwind experience’
The teenager took part in a round of breakfast TV and radio interviews.
‘People are talking about tennis again,’ revels Boris Becker after ‘Dame Emma Raducanu’s’ heroics
Boris Becker waxes lyrical about Emma Raducanu.
Tennis to introduce ‘Stefanos Tsitsipas bathroom break rule’ following Greek’s lengthy loo visits?
Stricter rules on the cards following furore over Stefanos Tsitsipas’ loo breaks.
LTA chief insists Emma Raducanu will not lose focus after stunning rise to the top
Lloyd has called for the newly-crowned US Open champion to be given “breathing space”.
Emma Raducanu delighted to return back in the UK and reunite with her father
Raducanu was pictured outside her house after travelling back from New York.
Introducing Wilson’s Blade v8 racket Emma Raducanu could use at the Australian Open
Emma Raducanu is set to be wielding a new-look weapon when he plays at the Australian Open in January.
Shock defeat for Andy Murray as he is beaten in Rennes
The Russian is ranked 42 places below Murray.