Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer are all in the same half of the French Open draw

Federer and Nadal come to Roland Garros, where play begins Sunday, equal for the most Grand Slam men’s singles championships with 20, while Djokovic has 18.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all ended up in the same half of the French Open men’s field in the draw on Thursday, meaning no more than one of them can reach the final. The Big Three top the leaderboard for Grand Slam men’s singles titles: Federer and Nadal head to Roland Garros, where play begins Sunday, tied with 20, while Djokovic has 18.

Nadal beat Djokovic in straight sets in the 2020 final for his record-extending 13th championship on the red clay of Paris, but if they meet again this time, it would be in the semifinals. Nadal is ranked and seeded No. 3 now and so he could have wound up on either side of the bracket; as luck would have it, he was placed in No. 1 Djokovic’s half.

Federer, whose record for most weeks atop the ATP rankings was just broken by Djokovic, who is presently ranked eighth despite playing only three matches in the previous 15 months due to two operations on his right knee. Federer and Djokovic might clash in the quarterfinals. On their side, Nadal may face No. 7 Andrey Rublev in the men’s quarterfinals.

The probable quarterfinals on the opposite side of the draw are No. 2 Daniil Medvedev vs. No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 4 Dominic Thiem vs. No. 6 Alexander Zverev.

Medvedev is a two-time Grand Slam finalist, though he is 0-4 at the French Open. Thiem won the US Open last year and has finished second in Paris twice. Serena Williams, who has won three of her professional-era record 23 Grand Slam championships in Paris, is among the recognizable faces in a quarter of the women’s draw.

This includes probable third-round matches against three-time major winner Angelique Kerber, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, and either two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka or No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals.

Other probable women’s quarterfinals are No. 1 Ash Barty vs. No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 4 Sofia Kenin vs. No. 8 Iga Swiatek in a rematch of Swiatek’s 2020 final, and No. 2 Naomi Osaka vs. No. 6 Bianca Andreesscu.

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