Nadal Faces A Difficult Road To French Open Glory
Rafael Nadal, seeking a record 13th title at the French Open and a 20th Grand Slam singles crown, had a relatively difficult road to this year’s final at Roland Garros when the draw took place on Thursday.
The Spaniard will face Bulgarian Egor Gerasimov in the first round and faces a possible round of 16 clash with US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev, who has never made it past the quarter-finals in the clay court Grand Slam.
Nadal then faces a possible semi-final clash against last year’s runner-up and US Open winner Dominic Thiem.
The tournament was rescheduled from May 24 to June 7 to September 27 to October 11 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia will face Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in the first round, where 16th-seeded Swiss and former champion Stan Wawrinka will face Britain’s Andy Murray in the best start.
Djokovic, who was ejected from the US Open after inadvertently hitting a linesman in the throat with a ball after a point, has an easier path to the final than Nadal after being tied in the same half as the fourth. Russian seeded Daniil Medvedev.
Canadian Milos Raonic, world No. 20, has retired, organizers said.
Serena Williams, hoping to win a record 24 Grand Slam titles in singles, will begin her campaign against fellow American Kristie Ahn.
The sixth seed, who was selected in the same half as top seed Simona Halep, faces a possible fourth round clash with US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka.
World number one and 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the tournament citing the coronavirus pandemic and problematic preparation.
With Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic on her last gasp, only six of the top 10 in the WTA rankings will start the tournament.
“This year’s French Open will already go down in history due to circumstances,” said the president of the French federation, Bernard Giudicelli. “The keywords for Roland Garros 2020 are resilience and responsibility.”
It will be the first year with a retractable roof at the French Open.