Nadal, Federer In Same Roland Garros Half; Djokovic With Zverev, Thiem, Del Potro
Draw published for second major championship of 2019 that begins on Sunday
Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a 12th Roland Garros title against a qualifier, but may need to beat 2009 winner Roger Federer or Stefanos Tsitsipas if he is to advance to his 26th Grand Slam championship final. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, features in the top half of the draw with Alexander Zverev, last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem and two-time former semi-finalist Juan Martin del Potro.
Nadal, who has an incredible 86-2 match record at the clay-court major, arrives in the French capital on the back of lifting a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 crown and ninth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title. The Spanish superstar is projected to face former World No. 8 David Goffin in the third round, and No. 15 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili – who competes this week in the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon semi-finals – in the Last 16. Seventh seed Kei Nishikori, who opens against French wild card Quentin Halys, or Russian No. 12 seed Daniil Medvedev – with 25 match wins in 2019 – may then lie in wait in the quarter-finals. Nadal, a 17-time major champion, has suffered just two losses in 88 matches at the clay-court Grand Slam championship – to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round and to Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals.
Djokovic came into last year’s tournament at No. 22 in the ATP Rankings. Now, riding high in his 252nd week at No. 1, the 32-year-old Serbian faces Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the first round, with Croatian No. 13 seed Borna Coric or No. 20 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada potential Last 16 foes. Djokovic, who also reached the 2012, 2014 and 2015 finals before lifting the 2016 title, may come up against fifth seed Alexander Zverev, in action this week at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, in the quarter-finals. Zverev, who reached his first major championships quarter-final at Roland Garros in 2018, faces Australia’s John Millman in the first round, while Fabio Fognini, who faces fellow Italian Andreas Seppi first up, is a possible fourth-round opponent for the German.
Third seed and 20-time major winner Federer, who became the sixth of eight men in tennis history to complete the career Grand Slam in 2009 with the Roland Garros trophy, competes at the major for the first time since 2015. He plays Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finalist Lorenzo Sonego in the first round, but sixth-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the recent Mutua Madrid Open finalist, 2015 champion and No. 24 seed Stan Wawrinka and Croatian No. 11 Marin Cilic all feature in the Swiss superstar’s quarter. Tsitsipas, with a 29-11 match record in 2019, opens against Germany’s Maximilian Marterer; Wawrinka faces Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia and 2017-18 quarter-finalist Cilic challenges Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano.
Fourth seed Thiem, who reached last year’s final after back-to-back semi-final exits (2016-17), competes in the second quarter with eighth-seeded Del Potro a possible quarter-final opponent. Thiem, who has captured ATP Tour titles this year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, challenges American Tommy Paul in the first round, with France’s Gael Monfils, the 2008 semi-finalist, a potential fourth-round clash. Del Potro, 2009 and 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, takes on Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in his opener, with Canadian No. 25 Felix Auger-Aliassime – starting against Jordan Thompson of Australia – maybe a third-round tie.
The 2019 Roland Garros draw ceremony was held at L'Orangerie, located in the botanical gardens of the site, with Nadal and the women's defending champion, Simona Halep, attending.