With Rafael Nadal out of competition due to injury, the Roland Garros draw has determined that world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and legend Novak Djokovic (3rd) could meet in the semifinals of the tournament. The Spaniard announced last week that he would not participate in search of his 15th crown and that he would devote himself to regenerating his physique in order to retire from tennis in 2024.
The president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, summed up the start of the tournament without Nadal as “a year marked by emotion.” Carlos Alcaraz and Djokovic are competing in the same part of the draw, which benefits Russian Daniil Medvedev, who recently reached second place in the world ranking and won his first clay court victory at the Rome Master 1000.
Daniil Medvedev, who will debut against a ranked player, could face Norwegian Casper Ruud (4th), last year’s finalist, in the semifinals. Standing in his potential path are Croatia’s Borna Coric (16th) and Italy’s Jannik Sinner (8th).
Carlos Alcaraz, who has trained with Stan Wawrinka on the Philippe Chatrier court, will make his tournament debut against a ranked player. In later rounds, he faced Canadian Denis Shapovalov (31st) in the third round, Cameron Norrie (14th) or Italian Lorenzo Musetti (18th) in the round of 16, and Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th) in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic, who has had a disappointing clay-court tour due to problems with his right elbow, would face Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich (34th) in the third round, Hubert Hurkacz (13th) or Roberto Bautista (23rd) in the round of 16, and Andrey Rublev (7th) in the quarterfinals.
In the women’s category, defending champion Iga Swiatek did not have a draw partner due to the absence of Nadal. The Pole will debut against Spain’s Cristina Bucsa (67th) and could face Elena Rybakina (4th) in the semifinals.
The other theoretical semifinalists would be Aryna Sabalenka (2nd) of Belarus and Jessica Pegula (3rd) of the United States.
Paula Badosa (29th), Spain’s main hope, withdrew from the tournament due to a stress fracture in her spine.
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