Nadal notable absentee as 2023 French Open prepares to get underway

Nadal notable absentee as 2023 French Open prepares to get underway
Fecha de publicación: 
27 May 2023
Imagen principal: 

Defending men’s singles champion Rafael Nadal will be a notable absentee when tennis’s second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, begins at Roland Garros in Paris tomorrow.

The Spaniard, who has won the tournament a record 14 times, will miss the event for the first time since 2004 due to a hip injury.

Nadal has not played since a second-round loss at the Australian Open in January and said at a media conference earlier this month he will likely be absent from competitive tennis for the next few months.

In his absence, a lot of attention is likely to be fixed on fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, with the reigning US Open champion and top seed beginning his campaign against Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli.

Alcaraz could meet record 22-time Grand Slam men’s singles title-holder Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the third seed, in the semi-finals, if the draws go according to plan.

Third seed Djokovic opens his campaign against Aleksandar Kovacevic of the United States, while second seed Daniil Medvedev, playing as a neutral, opens his tournament against Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil.

Among the other first-round men’s singles matches to watch are tenth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada against Italian Fabio Fognini, a former French Open quarter-finalist renowned for his unpredictable style and hard hitting.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Cameron Norrie, the 14th seed, who beat Alcaraz to win the Rio Open tournament earlier this season, faces French wildcard Benoît Paire, a favourite with the home crowds and renowned for his unusual shot selection.

Reigning French Open women's singles champion Iga Świątek starts at the top seed in Roland Garros ©Getty Images

Reigning French Open women's singles champion Iga Świątek starts at the top seed in Roland Garros ©Getty Images

In the women’s draw, defending champion Iga Świątek of Poland starts as the top seed, opening her campaign against Spaniard Cristina Bucsa.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka, playing as a neutral, who won the Australian Open earlier this year and beat Świątek earlier this month to win the Madrid Open, starts her campaign against Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine.

Third seed Jessica Pegula of the United States opens up against her compatriot Danielle Collins, a former French Open quarter-finalist, in what is expected to be a lively affair.

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the reigning Wimbledon champion, begins against a qualifier from the Czech Republic in Brenda Fruhvirtova.

Among the other first-round matches to watch are 18th seed Victoria Azarenka, playing as a neutral against Canadian Bianca Andreescu, in a meeting of two Grand Slam champions.

Karolína Plíšková of the Czech Republic, a former world number one and 2017 semi-finalist in Paris, takes on 2018 French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens of the United States, in another appetising clash.

This year’s tournament will also feature the return of night sessions, scheduled each day between Monday (May 29) and June 7.

With only one match scheduled in each night session, attention is likely to be on the balance of men’s and women’s matches, as last year only one of the 10 night matches featured female players.

The start of the night session has also been brought forward this year, with action scheduled to start at 8.30pm local time, in a bid to avoid a repeat of some of the late finishes seen previously, such as the quarter-final between Nadal and Djokovic last year, which ended at 1.15am local time.

The women’s and men’s singles champions are due to be crowned on June 10 and 11 respectively.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.