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

Ewan West
Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after losing a point during his match against Belgium's Zizou Bergs at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 9, 2024
Rafael Nadal reacts during his match against Zizou Bergs in Rome

Rafael Nadal will face Alexander Zverev in a blockbuster opening round clash at the 2024 French Open, while Novak Djokovic is on the opposite side of the draw to Carlos Alcaraz. 

Nadal, a 14-time Roland Garros champion, and Zverev, the fourth seed, are both in the top half of the draw with top seed Djokovic, as well as fifth seed Daniil Medvedev and seventh seed Casper Ruud.

It is a brutal draw for Nadal to play Zverev in his first match — with the German last week’s Italian Open champion and a three-time French Open semi-finalist. This will likely be the 37-year-old Spanish legend’s final appearance at the Paris Grand Slam.

No 2 seed Jannik Sinner and No 3 seed Alcaraz are both in the bottom half, along with sixth seed Andrey Rublev, eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz and ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

There are question marks over the fitness of both Sinner and Alcaraz heading into Roland Garros after the pair both missed the Italian Open due to injuries.

Defending champion Djokovic, who is in action at the Geneva Open this week, will face French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the opening round, before a potential second round clash with Roberto Carballes Baena or Constant Lestienne.

Read More: Novak Djokovic: What happened the last time the Serb played the week before the French Open?

The 37-year-old Serbian could then meet Lorenzo Musetti or Thiago Seyboth Wild in a potentially tricky third round match, with Gael Monfils another possible opponent.

Tommy Paul and Francisco Cerundolo are the seeded players Djokovic might face in the fourth round, before a possible last eight encounter with Ruud or Taylor Fritz.

In the semi-finals, Djokovic could take on any of Zverev, Nadal, Medvedev, Holger Rune, Alex de Minaur and Karen Khachanov.

The winner of the Zverev-Nadal clash will play either David Goffin or wildcard Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in the second round.

Tallon Griekspoor would then be a potential third round opponent, with Rune and Khachanov the most likely last 16 opponents and Medvedev the highest seed they could meet in the quarter-finals.

In the bottom half, Sinner will face Christopher Eubanks in the first round, Borna Coric or Richard Gasquet in the second round, before a possible third round meeting with Cameron Norrie.

The Australian Open winner could then take on Rome runner-up Nicolas Jarry in the last 16, Hurkacz in the quarter-finals, and Alcaraz, Rublev or Tsitsipas in the last four.

The final could, therefore, see one of Djokovic, Zverev, Nadal or Medvedev meet any of Sinner, Alcaraz, Rublev or Tsitsipas.

French Open men’s singles projected quarter-final line-up

(1) Novak Djokovic v (7) Casper Ruud
(4) Alexander Zverev v (5) Daniil Medvedev
(6) Andrey Rublev v (3) Carlos Alcaraz
(8) Hubert Hurkacz v (2) Jannik Sinner

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