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Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all in same half of French Open draw

Defending champion Nadal and world No. 1 Djokovic cannot meet in the final as they did last year — Nadal came out on top in straight sets — with the pair projected to face off in the semifinals instead.

However, Djokovic has the small matter of potentially having to overcome 20-time grand slam champion Federer to get there, with the Swiss potentially facing Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Nadal will begin his efforts to win a record-extending 14th French Open title with a first round match against Australian Alexei Popyrin, Djokovic will face American Tennys Sandgren and the eighth seeded Federer will face a qualifier.

Federer’s French Open preparations were dented by a surprise defeat to Pablo Andújar at the Geneva Open last week, in what was Federer’s first match since he made his injury comeback in March.

Russian world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem, Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas and Germany’s Alexander Zverev are in the other half of the draw.

In the women’s draw, defending champion Iga Swiatek is in the same half as world No. 1 and 2019 winner Ashleigh Barty, who pulled out of last year’s tournament due to the pandemic.

World No. 2 Naomi Osaka, who announced that she will not be participating in press conferences during the French Open, is looking to advance beyond the third round at Roland Garros for the first time and will face Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in the opening round.

Serena Williams, who is hoping to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, has been drawn in the same half as Osaka and will face Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round.

Williams’ preparations for her record-equaling attempt have been far from ideal, with the French Open No. 7 seed falling to a surprise straight sets defeat to Kateřina Siniaková at the Emilia-Romagna Open last week.

Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro will be making her return to tennis for the first time since beating cancer and will face 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the opening round.

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