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On Thursday, Rafael Nadal was drawn into Novak Djokovic’s top quadrant of the French Open draw, giving him the worst possible scenario. As a result, the two may meet off in the final eight.
The inclusion of the other favorite, 19-year-old supernova Carlos Alcaraz, who overcame Nadal and Djokovic in consecutive matches to win the Madrid Open this month, significantly complicates the top half of the men’s bracket. In the quarterfinals, he is expected to meet third seed Alexander Zverev, which means Djokovic or Nadal might face Alcaraz or Zverev in the semi-finals.
Cameron Norrie, the 10th seed from the United Kingdom, will play Manuel Guinard, a French wildcard, in the opening round and might face Alcaraz in the fourth round.
Djokovic, the incumbent champion and top seed, will begin his campaign against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan. Nadal, who takes on Jordan Thompson of Australia in the first round, was rated in the top four until a week ago, when he fell in the last 16 of the Italian Open to Denis Shapovalov due to a flare-up of his persistent foot issue.
His defeat allowed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost to Djokovic in the Rome final, to leapfrog him to fourth seed, potentially allowing Nadal, who is seeded fifth, to be drawn in Djokovic’s quarter. Nadal has had multiple training sessions in recent days after resting his foot in the days since Rome. He has remained mobile throughout.
Daniil Medvedev, the second seed, Tsitsipas, and Andrey Rublev lead the men’s draw’s bottom half. In the first round, Dan Evans, the 29th seed, will face Francisco Cerundolo.
Iga Swiatek is the heaviest French Open favorite in the women’s draw since Serena Williams’ supremacy in the last few years. Swiatek, the 2020 champion, will face a qualifier in the first round after arriving in Paris on a 28-match winning streak. A fourth-round encounter against former champions Simona Halep or Jelena Ostapenko lurks in the distance.
Emma Raducanu, seeded 12th for her French Open debut, has a good draw to help her recover from a recent back injury. She will begin her tournament by playing a qualifier, and if she wins, she will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Xinyu Wang. Angelique Kerber, the former No. 1 and the least comfortable on clay, is the highest seed in her division.
The most notable first round match in either draw is without a doubt Naomi Osaka’s match against Amanda Anisimova, the 27th seed. Anisimova, a former prodigy who reached the 2019 French Open semi-final at the age of 17, beat Osaka in the Australian Open third round this year. Meanwhile, Osaka arrives in Paris with an achilles issue that prompted her to withdraw from the Rome tournament.