Nadal, Djokovic & Federer Land On Same Half Of Roland Garros Draw
Rafael Nadal will chase a record-extending 14th Roland Garros title over the coming fortnight, but it won’t be easy for the third-seeded Spaniard with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and fellow 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer landing on his half of the draw. This is the first time the Big Three have been on the same half of a major singles draw.
The Spaniard, who has a 100-2 record at this event, will open against big-hitting Aussie Alexei Popyrin, and there are plenty of more tough foes in his second quarter. Those players include seventh seed Andrey Rublev, 2021 breakthrough star Aslan Karatsev, Diego Schwartzman (his opponent in last year’s semi-finals), Jannik Sinner (whom he played in last year’s quarter-finals) and home favourite Gael Monfils.
The first seeded opponent Nadal could face is 26th seed Lorenzo Sonego, who has been playing the best tennis of his career. The Italian just made his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Rome, where he pushed Djokovic to a deciding set. Nadal, fresh off his triumph in Rome, will be fully focussed on Popyrin, whom he defeated 6-3, 6-3 at this year’s Mutua Madrid Open.
Djokovic and Federer, both of whom have lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires once, are in the same quarter of the draw. The top seed will begin his run against two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren. The 18-time major winner owns a 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against the American, including two Grand Slam clashes. If the Serbian wins, he will face former Top 10 star Lucas Pouille or Uruguayan shotmaker Pablo Cuevas.
Federer, who made the semi-finals on his last Roland Garros appearance in 2019, will play a qualifier in the first round. The eighth seed could face former World No. 3 Marin Cilic in the second round.
Second seed Daniil Medvedev will face a tricky test in the first round against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik. The Russian leads their ATP Head2Head series 1-0, but that clash came five years ago in St. Petersburg. Bublik is at a career-high No. 37 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and he just beat Karatsev and Denis Shapovalov in Madrid.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, is also in Medvedev’s quarter of the draw. The Greek will try to navigate past home favourite Jeremy Chardy in his opener. Last year, Tsitsipas made the semi-finals on the Parisian clay, falling just short in a five-set semi-final against Djokovic.
Two-time Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem is the fourth seed, and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev is in his quarter. The Austrian star beat Zverev in last year's US Open final. Thiem will face Spaniard Pablo Andujar in the first round and Madrid semi-finalist Casper Ruud and Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz are potential fourth-round opponents.