Novak Djokovic will bid for a record-breaking twenty third Grand Slam title at a French Open with out his outdated rival Rafael Nadal for the primary time since 2004, whereas Iga Swiatek makes an attempt to turn into the primary girl to defend the title in 16 years. Serbian veteran Djokovic is not going to be the favorite for the title, although, after battling an elbow harm and failing to get previous the quarter-finals in any of his three clay-court occasions thus far this season. Carlos Alcaraz gained the Barcelona and Madrid Opens en path to taking on from Djokovic as world primary, whereas Daniil Medvedev is seeded second for Roland Garros after his maiden clay triumph in Rome.
However Djokovic will know it is a huge alternative to interrupt out of his tie with 14-time French Open winner Nadal on the high of the all-time checklist of most males’s Slam singles titles.
The 2-time champion has misplaced eight of his 10 French Open conferences with Nadal who’s lacking this 12 months’s version on account of a hip harm he suffered on the Australian Open.
“I do know I can at all times play higher,” Djokovic stated after shedding to Holger Rune within the Italian Open final eight.
“Undoubtedly am trying ahead to engaged on numerous facets of my sport, of my physique, hopefully getting myself in 100% form. That is the purpose.”
Djokovic and Alcaraz are seeded to satisfy within the semi-finals after being positioned in the identical half of the draw.
The 36-year-old can also should get previous Monte Carlo Masters champion Andrey Rublev within the quarters.
The opposite aspect of the draw seems large open, with in-form Medvedev the best seed regardless of by no means having beforehand received previous the quarter-finals on the Paris clay.
The Russian misplaced within the first spherical on every of his first 4 visits earlier than making the quarters in 2021.
“I’d by no means (have) thought I’d be capable of make this (win a clay-court title),” Medvedev stated after beating Rune within the Rome last.
“However I’ve to be sincere — a Grand Slam is at all times larger.”
In-form teen Rune, who made a shock run to final 12 months’s quarter-finals, might face Casper Ruud within the final eight in a rematch of a bad-tempered assembly 12 months in the past.
Ruud went on to be thrashed within the last by Nadal and likewise misplaced the US Open showpiece match to Alcaraz.
However the Norwegian world quantity 4 has struggled for type this 12 months, solely reaching the quarters in two of the ten tournaments he has performed.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who misplaced the 2021 last to Djokovic after being two units up, can be among the many doubtless contenders however has not gained a title but this time period — the longest he has needed to look forward to a trophy in a season since 2018.
– New ‘massive three’? –
The winner of the ladies’s singles is anticipated to be one of many trio of reigning champion Swiatek, Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.
They’ve gained the final 4 Grand Slam titles between them and a minimum of one in every of them has featured in each WTA 1000 last this season.
Swiatek, who turns 22 through the match, would be the favorite as she chases a 3rd Roland Garros triumph and a primary profitable girls’s title defence since Justine Henin gained her third French Open in a row in 2007.
The Polish star retired from her Italian Open quarter-final towards Rybakina with a thigh harm however educated at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
Wimbledon champion Rybakina, ranked fourth, has already gained the Rome and Indian Wells titles in 2023 and will face Swiatek within the Roland Garros semis.
“Hopefully I can go far on the French Open,” she stated. “I’ve good reminiscences enjoying there.
“Now that I’ve received extra matches on clay, it’s kind of simpler and (offers me) a bit extra confidence.”
Different title hopefuls embrace final 12 months’s runner-up Coco Gauff, Tunisian Ons Jabeur and world quantity three Jessica Pegula.
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