French Open: 5 key talking points from the men’s draw, ft. Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner v Carlos Alcaraz
Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner v Carlos Alcaraz comparison

The draw for the 2024 French Open men’s singles tournament has raised some compelling matchups and storylines. 

Play will begin at Roland Garros on Sunday, with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz all set to compete in Paris.

Here, we look at five key talking points from an intriguing French Open men’s draw.

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev set for first round showdown

The fact Rafael Nadal could face any opponent as early as the first round due to his unseeded status made this Roland Garros draw one of the most highly-anticipated Grand Slam draws in memory.

To say the draw gods were not kind to the Spanish legend would be an understatement, as he will play world No 4 and recent Italian Open winner Alexander Zverev in his first match.

This will almost certainly be Nadal’s final French Open campaign given he has said 2024 will likely be the last season of his career.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion, who holds an astonishing 112-3 record at the clay-court Major, will have to roll back the years to extend his farewell appearance beyond a single match.

Whatever version of the 37-year-old tennis icon takes to Court Philippe Chatrier, this will be a must-watch encounter.

Read More: French Open men’s draw: Rafael Nadal handed blockbuster opener as Novak Djokovic avoids Carlos Alcaraz

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz in the same half

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz are the two leading young stars in the men’s game and the developing rivalry between the pair is already fascinating — with the head-to-head locked at 4-4.

The duo have both landed in the bottom half of the French Open draw, with Sinner the No 2 seed and Alcaraz the No 3 seed. Both are looking to triumph at Roland Garros for the first time.

They could, therefore, face off in the semi-finals in what would be their third Grand Slam meeting and arguably most significant match yet.

There are doubts over the physical condition of both Sinner and Alcaraz, though, after the pair endured injury-hit clay-court seasons.

Both withdrew from the Italian Open, while Alcaraz also missed events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and Sinner pulled out during the Madrid Open.

Novak Djokovic could meet Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals

Of the top four seeds, world No 1 Novak Djokovic looks to have the most dangerous potential quarter-final opponent from the players seeded 5-8.

The 37-year-old tennis legend, who is looking to win his fourth French Open title and defend the crown he won last year, is projected to meet No 7 seed Casper Ruud in the last eight. Djokovic and Ruud are both competing at the Geneva Open this week.

Ruud was a French Open runner-up in both 2022 and 2023, while he has had a strong clay season this year, reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final and winning the Barcelona Open.

Djokovic holds a commanding 5-1 record against Ruud, although the great Serbian did lose to the 25-year-old Norwegian in the pair’s last match in the Monte Carlo semi-finals last month.

Stefanos Tsitsipas could be a big threat in the bottom half

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the No 9 seed at Roland Garros but is arguably one of the most dangerous players in the draw given his form and clay-court record.

Last month, the Greek claimed his third Monte Carlo Masters title and was a runner-up at the Barcelona Open, while he made the quarter-finals in Rome last week.

Tsitsipas was a set away from winning the French Open in 2021, when Djokovic came from two sets down to beat him in the final.

The 25-year-old faces a tricky route with No 6 seed Andrey Rublev a likely fourth round opponent, while he may have to overturn an 0-5 record against Alcaraz in the quarter-finals.

With injury questions marks over Sinner and Alcaraz, though, the bottom half of the draw might open up and Tsitsipas is fully capable of taking advantage on his best surface.

Read More: Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner may not be French Open contenders warns Grand Slam champion

Andy Murray vs Stan Wawrinka for the last time?

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka will face off in the opening round at the French Open for what will be their 23rd meeting on the main tour.

The pair, who are both three-time Grand Slam champions, have each played significant parts in the golden era men’s tennis has enjoyed in the past 15 years — along with their ‘Big Three’ rivals.

Murray, 37, has revealed he will likely retire after this summer, while Wawrinka is 39 — although the Swiss has expressed his desire to keep playing.

This could, therefore, be the final meeting between the two tennis greats as they approach the ends of their respective illustrious careers.

Murray leads the head-to-head 13-9, while Wawrinka has won four of their five matches on clay and two of three at the French Open — including a first round clash in 2020.

Read More: French Open: The 9 greatest men’s singles champions – ranked!