The draw for the French Open, the second tennis major of the 2023 season, was announced on Friday (local time), with reigning champion Rafael Nadal absent for the first time in 19 years.
The men’s singles is the most intriguing, with No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz (Spain) and No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic (Serbia) drawn on the same side of the draw to face each other in the semifinals, two of the tournament’s strongest favorites.
Alcaraz, who just turned 20, and Djokovic, 36, have met only once before, in the semifinals of the Madrid Open, an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event, in May 2022. A day after defeating Nadal in the quarterfinals, Alcaraz defeated Djokovic 2-1 (6-7<5>, 7-5, 7-6<5>), becoming the first player to defeat both Djokovic and Nadal in the same clay court tournament. Alcaraz defeated Alexander Zverev (GER) in the final to win the title.
If Alcaraz and Djokovic are to meet on their way to the final, they will have to defeat No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) and No. 7 seed Andrei Rublev (Russia), both two-time Grand Slam finalists, in the quarterfinals.
On the other side of the bracket are No. 2 seed Danil Medvedev (Russia) and No. 4 seed Casper Lourdes (Norway).
Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion, quickly became the favorite after winning his first career title at the Italian Open, the most prestigious event in the ClayCourt Masters 1000 series. Rood was the runner-up at the French Open and US Open last year.
If Medvedev and Lourdes are to meet in the semifinals, they will have to overcome the barriers of eighth seed Yannick Cigner (ITA) and 20-year-old ‘young gun’ Holger Lune (DEN) in the quarterfinals, respectively.
Meanwhile, it is customary for the draw to feature the previous year’s men’s and women’s singles champions. Women’s singles champion Iga Cibionte메이저놀이터 (Poland) attended Thursday’s ceremony, but men’s champion Nadal was absent. “Unfortunately, he is unable to participate in this year’s tournament,” French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretong said. Nadal has played Roland Garros every year for the past 18 years, since winning his first French Open title on his debut in 2005. He’s won 14 titles in 18 years, a comic achievement. This year, however, he withdrew due to a hip (left iliopsoas) injury.