Djokovic, Nadal, Seeded To Meet In Roland Garros QFs
Roland Garros top seed Novak Djokovic will have his work cut out for him as he seeks to defend his title in Paris. The World No. 1 could face Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, with the 13-time champion drawn into his quarter as the fifth seed.
Carlos Alcaraz also joins them in the top half as the sixth seed, and could face Djokovic or Nadal in the semi-finals. Alcaraz, who will be making his second appearance at the clay-court Grand Slam, was placed in third seed Alexander Zverev's quarter.
Daniil Medvedev anchors the draw on its bottom line, with fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third quarter alongside eighth seed Casper Ruud. Andrey Rublev, seeded seventh, is a potential quarter-final opponent for Medvedev.
Speaking at the draw ceremony, Djokovic expressed his gratitude for the full return of fans at the Stade Roland Garros.
"It's amazing to see the amount of people that came this week during the qualifying week and also at the practice sessions," he said. "A lot of people on the centre court and on Court Suzanne Leglen as well. It's fantastic to see that because you can see how much they miss tennis, how much they are passionate and how much they love this sport. And of course for us players, it's an incredible feeling to have the crowd.
"Particularly for me at this stage of my career, they are one of the main factors of why I still play professional tennis and why I compete. The energy that you get from the crowd, the excitement is something very important for us."
Nadal's first-round opponent is Aussie Jordan Thompson, with Stan Wawrinka looming as a potential second-round opponent. Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and 17th seed Reilly Opelka are potential fourth-round matchups for the Spaniard.
Both Alcaraz and Zverev open against qualifiers, with the unseeded Dominic Thiem a dangerous floater in that second quarter. Thiem faces Hugo Dellien in the first round, with the winner to face 21st seed Karen Khachanov or a qualifier in the second round.
The third quarter features three of the draw's more intriguing opening-round matchups. Tsitsipas will take on #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti, 14th seed Denis Shapovalov faces #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune and Ruud takes on wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the Frenchman set to retire following Roland Garros.
Medvedev will seek his first clay win of the season against Facundo Bagnis in the opening round, while Rublev opens against Soonwoo Kwon. Also in the fourth quarter, 11th seed Jannik Sinner will face a qualfiier in the opening round, while 16th seed Pablo Carreno Busta faces home favourite Gilles Simon in the Frenchman's final Roland Garros before his planned retirement at the end of the year.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Nadal was a 12-time Roland Garros champion. He has won the title 13 times.