PARIS (AP) —
Carlos Alcaraz and the man
he just replaced atop the rankings, 22-time Grand Slam champion
Novak Djokovic, were placed in the same half of
the French Open field in Thursday's draw and could face each other in the semifinals.
Alcaraz is seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time and was automatically placed in the top section of the bracket. Djokovic is No. 3 and so could have ended up on either half — had he landed in the bottom, he and Alcaraz only could have met in the final
at Roland Garros, where 14-time champion
Rafael Nadal will be missing for the first time since he made his debut at the clay-court major in 2005.
Play begins Sunday.
Typically, the previous year's singles champions are invited to appear at the draw, so 2022
women's winner Iga Swiatek was present Thursday. Nadal, of course, was not. Still, he was the first player mentioned at the outset of the ceremony by French Tennis Federation president Gilles Morreton, who noted, "Unfortunately, he cannot play the tournament this year."
Swiatek did not appear to show any ill effects from the hurt right thigh that caused her to stop playing in the third set of her quarterfinal match in Rome last weekend. She indicated almost immediately that the issue would not prevent her from competing in Paris, where she has won two of her three major trophies.