Carlos Alcaras. (Photo by Clive Brunskil / Getty Images)
Incumbent champion Novak Djokovic, 13-time winner Rafael Nadal and new teen star Carlos Alcaras were drawn in the same half of the French Open on Thursday.
The first number of the world Djokovic and Nadal, who took the fifth place in the ranking, will be seeded to meet in the quarterfinals.
The 19-year-old Alcaras is vying to become the eighth teenager to win a Grand Slam title among men.
In the semifinals, he can face Djokovic or Nadal, who has a record 21 major competitions, in the toughest draw of the second Grand Slam tournament of the season.
“I am very motivated to play my best tennis,” said the two-time French Open champion and 20-time top winner Djokovic.
“In Paris I always play very hard. Last year it was the hardest major I’ve won.”
Djokovic had to come out of two sets twice last year to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the 1/8 finals and Stefanas Tsitspas in the final, who also beat Nadal from the set behind in the semifinals.
“Musetti, Rafa, Tsitsipas – each match lasted more than three hours, a lot of sets. It was tense, but I liked the result.”
Djokovic, who celebrates his 35th birthday on Sunday, the opening day of Roland Garros, faces 94th Yoshihito Nisioku of Japan in the first round.
Nadal will start against Australian Jordan Thompson as he seeks to extend his French Open record – just three defeats in 108 matches in the tournament since his debut in 2005.
Alcaras, who has four top titles of the season in 2022, including the Crown Masters in Miami and Madrid, as well as in Rio and Barcelona, is starting against a qualifying tournament.
The teenager knocked out Djokovic and Nadal on the way to victory in the Spanish capital.
Second seeded Daniel Medvedev, US Open champion, will meet Argentine Facundo Bagnis in the first round.
Alexander Zverev, who ranks third in the ranking, is facing a qualifying match, and Tsitsipas has a tough start against the Museum.
In the women’s draw, the world’s first racket Iga Svyatek, the 2020 champion, holds a series of 28 victories and has won five titles in a row this season.
The 20-year-old polka starts in a qualifying match, while second-seeded and reigning champion Barbara Kreichikova faces France’s Diana Parry.
Four-time grand winner Naomi Osaka, a former world number one but now 38, is returning to Paris 12 months after being eliminated before the second round, citing mental health problems.
Organizers also threatened with expulsion and a fine for refusing to attend a press conference.
The 24-year-old athlete, the highest paid athlete in the world, will meet the 27th-ranked American Amanda Anisimova, a semifinalist in Paris in 2019.
This year Anisimova knocked out Osaka from the Australian Open in the third round.
Paulo Bados from Spain, who is seeded third, is starting to face Frenchman Fiona Ferra, and Maria Saccari, seeded fourth, also has a rival from France in Clara Burel.
Tunisian Ons Jaber, seeded six and champion on the ground in Madrid last month, will meet Magda Lynette of Poland in his first round.