AFP: Novak Djokovic will bid for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at a French Open without his old rival Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, while Iga Swiatek attempts to become the first woman to defend the title in 16 years. Serbian veteran Djokovic will not be the favourite for the title, though, after struggling with an elbow injury and failing to get past the quarter-finals in any of his three clay-court events so far this season.
Carlos Alcaraz won the Barcelona and Madrid Opens en route to taking over from Djokovic as world number one, while Daniil Medvedev is seeded second for Roland Garros after his maiden clay triumph in Rome. But Djokovic will know this is a massive opportunity to break out of his tie with 14-time French Open winner Nadal at the top of the all-time list of most men’s Slam singles titles.
The two-time champion has lost eight of his 10 French Open meetings with Nadal who is missing this year’s edition due to a hip injury he suffered at the Australian Open. Djokovic and Alcaraz are seeded to meet in the semi-finals after being placed in the same half of the draw. “I felt bad when I hear that Rafa was not able to play here in Roland Garros,” said Alcaraz yesterday.
Nayeemul Islam khan
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