Can Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal face each other at Paris 2024? Who else will feature at the Olympics?

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic pose at 2008 Beijing Olympics
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic with medals at the Beijing Olympics

Novak Djokovic is set to make his fifth Olympic appearance as he has been confirmed in Serbia’s squad for Paris 2024 and he joins a list of high-profile players set to compete at Roland Garros.

There were initially doubts over the 24-time Grand Slam winner’s appearance at the Games as he underwent surgery on a torn medial meniscus in his right knee just over two weeks ago following a fall at the French Open.

But the Olympic Committee of Serbia has announced their greatest ever player – and perhaps tennis’ greatest ever player – will compete on the clay in Paris alongside Dusan Lajovic.

Djokovic also competed at the 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games, 2016 Rio Olympics and 2021 Tokyo Olympics with his best performance coming in China when he won bronze. He finished fourth in Tokyo after losing in the semi-final against eventual champion Alexander Zverev.

But Djokovic has made no secret of the fact that winning gold at the Olympics for Serbia is his big priority, but he will have to come through a quality field if he is to realise his dream of reaching the top step of the podium in Paris.

Big-Name Players Competing

Besides Djokovic, reigning world No 1 Jannik Sinner, newly-crowned French Open champion Carlos Alcaraz as well as tennis greats Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have been confirmed for the 2024 Games.

Although many National Olympic Committees are still to announce their squads, the other stars who are set to feature are defending champion Alexander Zverev as well as Daniil Medvedev [who will compete under a neutral flag], Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Alex de Minaur, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul and Holger Rune, among others.

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Who Will Not Play?

So far world No 6 Andrey Rublev has been the biggest name to announce that he will not play at Roland Garros along with fellow Russian Karen Khachanov.

American Ben Shelton has also opted as he stated back in March: “At the moment I can say that I’m quite inclined not to go this year, in case I qualify. I think they fit into the tennis schedule in a complicated way.”

Can Djokovic And Nadal Face Each Other?

It is a 64-player draw in the singles and the big guns can face each other, but only later in the draw as the top 16 players in the ATP Rankings will be seeded.

With Murray entering the draw via the legacy gold medallist/Grand Slam champion route due to a ranking of 97, he could potentially draw the likes of Sinner, Alcaraz and Djokovic early on as he doesn’t have seeding protection.

So can Djokovic and Nadal face each other? The answer is no in terms of singles as Nadal has only entered the doubles as he will represent Spain alongside Alcaraz.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t face each other in the doubles as Djokovic will likely team up with Lajovic in the doubles so a Spain-Serbia play-off could happen.

Ditto for a possible Nadal against Murray clash as the latter will also represent Great Britain in the doubles.

We could also have a tasty Italy-Spain match-up in the doubles with the Italians naming a strong line-up that will see Sinner team up with Lorenzo Musetti.

When Is The Draw?

The draw will take place on July 25 with the opening ceremony the following day. The tennis tournament will officially get underway on July 27 with the men’s doubles finals set for August 3 and the men’s singles final taking place on August 4.