Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz All On Brutal Half Of French Open Draw

by Sean Randall | May 19th, 2022, 3:05 pm

While Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev liked what they saw with the French Open draw a few hours ago, the three tournament favorites — Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz — can’t be thrilled.

All three ended up on the same half of the draw with Nadal landing in the Djokovic quarter! That’s right, so in this perfect storm scenario Djokovic would play Nadal in the quarters with Alcaraz in the semifinals.

And if that’s not enough, in the earlier rounds Djokovic could have to deal with Jenson Brooksby in the third round, then Diego Schwartzman in the fourth.

Nadal might have former champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round, Felix Auger-Aliassime (or Reilly Opelka) in his fourth round.

Alcaraz will have his hands full with Sebastian Korda in the third (remember Korda beat him last month), then Cam Norrie in the fourth followed by Alexander Zverev in the quarters.

Upsets will happen, but on paper there are no easy roads in that top half.

The bottom is far more open and far more friendly for the likes of a Tsitsipas who is the clear favorite to get back to the final.

Casper Ruud is starting to play better, Jannik Sinner is in there along with the second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. But other than Ruud and maybe Sinner or Rublev, I don’t see anyone stopping Tsitsipas from returning to the title match.

Tsitsipas opens against Lorenzo Musetti who is finally playing some good tennis after his collapse to Djokovic almost a year ago. Then it’s Alex De Minaur or Denis Shapovalov in the fourth, maybe Ruud in the quarters.

Medvedev has a great draw but the guy never plays well in Paris, just had a surgery and just lost to Richard Gasquet in his return in Geneva. So someone like Miomir Kecmanovic could be the guy to take him out in the third round. So it will likely be the Rublev/Sinner QF winner to come out to the semifinal to face Tsitsipas — I think Rublev is the more season player vs the Italian who struggles against top guys in best-of-5.

But I think looking at the draw, put Tsitsipas in the final and then on the top half I guess Alcaraz would be the more clear choice over Zverev than trying to pick a Djokovic-Nadal winner.

All this leaves a Djokovic with having to beat Nadal, Alcaraz and then Tsitsipas. Nadal doing the same and Alcaraz going through Zverev, Djokovic/Nadal an then Tsitsipas.

And this is good news for Tsitsipas or the bottom half finalist who should be far fresher than the top half finalist. So opportunity for a Tsitsipas, Ruud or even Rublev for a first Slam? I think so. Will it happen?

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12 Comments for Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz All On Brutal Half Of French Open Draw

zed Says:

So it looks like another Novak v Stefanos final in the French.

Giles Says:


Bobbie Koon Says:

Why pick the Joker to win already. Yes, it’s a brutal half draw at the French Open but the Joker won’t win. The other guys will come through and he’ll be sitting licking his injuries.

zed Says:


Because he is the greatest of all time.
Because he had the Aus Open stolen from him and he is now rising exponentially.
Because he humbled Nadal last year and snatched victory from Tsitsipas in the final.
Because Alcaraz is the future but he’s not yet ready to beat Novak in a Grand Slam.
Because he has the eye of the tiger
He loves the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of his rival
And he’s the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

He is and always will be, Novak.

PK Says:

I like Alcaraz over all of them at Roland Garros. Although Djokovic has to be considered a favorite at any Slam right now. It’s remarkable, but you have to respect the level he’s managed to maintain far into “old age.”

Giles Says:

The AO wasn’t stolen from Novax. His stupidity let him down. Rafa won fair and square and especially coming back from 2 sets down against a very dangerous player. Vamos Rafa!
Zed. You sing the same old tune. It’s getting very tiring . Bring something new to the table.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

The way Rafa left ROme, left Novak the favourite for French. The way Novak left Rome confirms it.

Every match Rafa wins, without sign of injury, he’ll move up the odds list. If they reach the quarters healthy, I’d call it an even bet.

Thiem now 0-6 in his comeback– that could have been a different storyline.

Medvedev not likely a threat.

Rafa and Novak are just titans etched across eons of tennis history. We’ll see what Carlos can do!

chrisford1 Says:

Bad luck draw for Rafa and Novak.
Maybe a little worse for Novak if before Rafa, he gets the energy draining little beast Diego Schwartzman AFTER he has to handle the Indian Wells winner Brooksby.

In the insane world of Rafa and RG, and co-legend Novak, who beats who at the French Open is one of the main highlights in their rivalry. Which makes for a Quarterfinal where neither guy can afford to hold back.
The winner being gassed and slowed a smidgeon when Alcaraz likely waits in the semis.
And likely winning over the Novak vs. Rafa survivor, IMO.
Then I would root for Alcaraz to win the title.

Wins by Alcaraz and Swiatek would not be thought of as a nice fluke (IGA 2020, Emily 2021) but as two players who have now built games good enough to beat anyone, and shown consistency. Maybe, if both win, this will be the “changing of the Guard” point when the Successors (to the Big 3 and Serena) were finally solidly established.
Could be worse.

Giles Says:

Hey Zed. What are your thoughts on the Wimbledon ranking points or rather lack of it. In this scenario your joker will lose 2000 ranking points from last year and gain zilch this year. That’s right , blame Rafa! Lol. Wimbledon this year is classed as an exhibition!

Tennispompom Says:

Giles, you’re right that Wimbledon has become an exhibition event this year, it is no longer one of the four majors, a Grand Slam event. It’s now just some meaningless, racist tournament.

I don’t think the implications have sunk in yet. ATP, ITF and WTA should allocate the status of a Major and the corresponding ranking points to some other tournament temporarily, in order to be fair to the players, so that they can defend their last year’s points elsewhere.

zed Says:

To answer Giles I’ll repeat what I have said before, Novak no longer gives two forks about more weeks at number 1. He’s racked up more than any man in history and probaby has more than anyone will ever get in the future.

You can see it in post match interviews like when he lost the final in the US Open, he responded to a reporter saying he thought Medvedev already had enough to get number 1 but he wasn’t sure. In other words, he’s not tracking it anymore, it’s not what he’s thinking about.

With regard to Wimbeldon management, is anyone willing to bet they will eat humble pie and retract their racist ban? I’m not prepared to put a lot of money on it but I do think there’s a chance the weasels will pull their heads in.

If they do, they should be mocked mercilessly until each of the invididuals involved are forced to resign and are replaced by people with better judgement and stronger principles.

Giles Says:

Wimbledon? Humble Pie? NEVER!

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