Novak Djokovic ready to be tested in French Open defence after ‘very tough’ draw
World No 1 Novak Djokovic admits he faces a tough challenge to defend his French Open title.
Djokovic, who beat 13-time champion Rafael Nadal on his way to victory last year, is in the same half of the draw as the Spaniard and could meet him in a blockbuster quarter-final.
Also lurking in a lop-sided draw is teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz and world number three Alexander Zverev.
Djokovic said: “Yeah, I had a look at the draw. I think every player always looks at the entire draw and studies it in a way.
“You can only focus on your next challenge and match. And, of course, it’s a very tough top half of the men’s draw, but there is something that you can’t really affect. It is what it is.”
The Serbian, who begins his title defence against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, sees Nadal and his fellow Spaniard Alcaraz as the main threats to his bid for a record-equalling 21st grand slam crown.
“And then you have Alcaraz, he obviously is the story of men’s tennis in the last four or five months with a big reason.
“He’s had some tremendous leaps forward on rankings and the results that he’s been achieving are phenomenal for someone of his age. He has made a quantum jump really forward in the last five, six months.
“So I feel I am always in that contention to fight for any grand slam trophy. I believe in my own abilities to get far and to fight for one of the most prestigious trophies in the world of tennis.
“As a defending champion of course more so, to believe I can do it again. Reliving the memories from last year is something that obviously gives me goose bumps and motivation to try to replicate that, if I can say that.
“But, I mean, obviously every season and every year is different. There is so many players that want to put their hands on that trophy in a few weeks’ time. I’m very much aware of it.”
In the bottom half of the draw, Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev faces against Facundo Bagnis of Argentina in the first round.
Joao Sousa opens up about torrent of death threats, abuse, insults on social media from gamblers
Something needs to be done about social media abuse, says Joao Sousa.
Former Dutch No 1 says ATP top 20 is weaker than a decade ago, urges sport to move with the times
Robin Haase on the state of the game.
WATCH: Novak Djokovic rewards youngster after his lost credit card is returned at basketball match
This way for some wholesome content featuring Novak Djokovic.
Carlos Alcaraz hopes to inspire ‘beast’ Fernando Alonso to a 33rd F1 race win
Carlos Alcaraz a big fan of Fernando Alonso.
Holger Rune wants to ‘put on a show on court’ and hopes to be part of new Big Three
Holger Rune to become one of the great entertainers in tennis?
Bianca Andreescu’s fresh injury update as medical results are revealed
Bianca Andreescu has got the medical results back on the ankle injury she suffered in Miami.
Who are Novak Djokovic’s sponsors?
Novak Djokovic has plenty of big-money backers.
Billie Jean King could be awarded Congressional Gold Medal
Billie Jean King could become the first female athlete to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
ATP Rankings: Daniil Medvedev can break back into to four
The ATP Rankings are set for a shake-up next week.
Sorana Cirstea stuns Aryna Sabalenka for first WTA 1000 semi-final in a decade
Sorana Cirstea took advantage of a trio of double faults from Aryna Sabalenka.