Djokovic & Alcaraz could meet in French Open semis

Novak Djokovic has been drawn in the same half of the French Open men’s singles draw as Carlos Alcaraz, meaning the pair could meet in the semi-finals.

World number one Alcaraz, playing his first major as a Grand Slam champion, starts against a qualifier.

Djokovic is seeded third as he goes for a record 23rd men’s major title and plays American Aleksandar Kovacevic.

Cameron Norrie, one of only three British players in the singles, starts against France’s Benoit Paire.

Former world number one Andy Murray withdrew last week to focus on the upcoming grass-court season.

Emma Raducanu, who would have received a place in the main draw, is also not playing following operations on both her wrists and an ankle.

As a result, no Britons feature in the women’s singles after six players lost in the qualifying rounds.

It is the first time the nation is not represented in a Grand Slam main draw since the 2009 US Open.

The French Open, which is the second major of the season, starts on the Roland Garros clay on Sunday.

What else happened in the men’s draw?

There is an unfamiliar feeling to this year’s event with the absence of 14-time men’s singles champion Rafael Nadal because of a hip injury.

Spain’s Nadal, 36, announced last week he would not be playing at Roland Garros for the first time in 19 years and he was not present at Thursday’s draw, with tradition dictating the defending champion is usually there.

Instead, all eyes were centred on which half of the draw Djokovic would land.

The Serb, who turned 36 last week, ended up in the same half as 20-year-old Alcaraz, who won the US Open last year but missed the season-opening major at the Australian Open through injury.

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev is seeded second after winning last week’s Italian Open and starts his campaign against a qualifier.

Who plays who in the women’s singles?

Defending champion Iga Swiatek, who is the top seed and bidding for a third French Open title, starts against Spanish world number 67 Cristina Bucsa.

The 21-year-old from Poland is optimistic a recent thigh injury will not prevent her from trying to claim a fourth Grand Slam title.

Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in January, starts her bid for back-to-back majors against Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.

Kostyuk has regularly spoken out about Russia’s invasion of her country, which has been supported by Belarus.

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina is seeded fourth after winning the Italian Open last week and has been put in the same half of the draw as Swiatek, meaning they could meet in the semi-finals.

Rybakina, whose ranking is lower than it should be because ranking points were not awarded at Wimbledon last year, faces a qualifier in her opening match.

Third seed Jessica Pegula faces a tough opener against fellow American Danielle Collins, who reached the Australian Open final last year and is ranked 45th in the world.

Another eye-catching draw features two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka against 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu.

Which other Britons are playing?

Norrie leads British singles hopes in Paris and faces a home player in the unpredictable Paire, who was beaten by the 14th seed in the first round of last year’s US Open.

British number two Dan Evans, seeded 24th, plays Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis, while 21-year-old Jack Draper faces Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry on his Roland Garros main-draw debut.

Former British number one Kyle Edmund, who was set to use a protected ranking after long-term knee problems, withdrew from the tournament shortly before the draw.

None of the British women who entered qualifying were able to secure a place in the draw, with Harriet Dart, Katie Swan, Katie Boulter, Heather Watson, Lily Miyazaki and Francesca Jones suffering defeats earlier this week.

In the men’s competition, Britain’s Ryan Peniston, Liam Broady and Jan Choinski were all unable to come through the three rounds of qualifying.

The men’s doubles is likely to feature a strong British contingent, including a trio of Grand Slam champions in Jamie Murray, Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski.

There will also be British interest in the wheelchair events through players including Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker. Those events start on 6 June.

When does the French Open start?

The French Open main draw starts on Sunday, 28 May and runs until Sunday, 11 June. Qualifying for the tournament started on Monday, 22 May.

Who are the top seeds in the singles?

The seedings were determined by world ranking before the draw.

Spain’s Alcaraz arrives in Paris as men’s world number one, having replaced Djokovic at the top when the latest rankings were published this week.

Cameron Norrie is Britain’s highest-ranked player at 14th, with Dan Evans next at 24th.

In the women’s draw, defending champion Swiatek is the world number one and the Pole is poised for an intriguing battle with world number two Sabalenka as the Belarusian seeks back-to-back Grand Slam titles following her Australian Open victory.

French Open men’s top players by ranking
1. Carlos Alcaraz (Spain) 6. Holger Rune (Denmark)
2. Daniil Medvedev (Russia*) 7. Andrey Rublev (Russia*)
3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 8. Jannik Sinner (Italy)
4. Casper Ruud (Norway) 9. Taylor Fritz (United States)
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) 10. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada)
French Open women’s top players by ranking
1. Iga Swiatek (Poland) 6. Coco Gauff (United States)
2. Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus*) 7. Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
3. Jessica Pegula (United States) 8. Maria Sakkari (Greece)
4. Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan) 9. Daria Kasatkina (Russia*)
5. Caroline Garcia (France) 10. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

*denotes playing under a neutral flag

What is the tournament schedule for the singles?

28 May – men’s and women’s first round (from 10:00 BST)

29 May – men’s and women’s first round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

30 May – men’s and women’s first round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

31 May – men’s and women’s second round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

1 June – men’s and women’s second round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

2 June – men’s and women’s third round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

3 June – men’s and women’s third round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

4-5 June – men and women’s fourth round (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

6-7 June – men’s and women’s quarter-finals (from 10:00, night session from 19:30)

8 June – women’s semi-finals (from 14:00)

9 June – men’s semi-finals (from 13:45)

10 June – women’s final (from 14:00)

11 June – men’s final (from 14:00)

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