French Open 2021 Men's, Women's Draws for Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Serena, MoreMay 27, 2021
The 2021 French Open men's and women's singles draws were released Thursday, with Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty as the No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets.
Djokovic, 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal and 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer are all on the same side of the men's tournament:
Barty, who won the 2019 French Open but skipped last year's event amid the COVID-19 pandemic, received a favorable draw with Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams among the big names in the opposite half:
Djokovic and reigning French Open champion Nadal faced off in the Rome Masters final earlier this month, with the King of Clay scoring a three-set victory, and they're the top two players to beat in the French Open. It's unfortunate they can't meet in the final of the season's second Grand Slam, but it would make a terrific semifinal.
Federer isn't on the same level right now. He returned in March after 13 months on the sideline since undergoing knee surgery last February.
He's won just one match in the two events he's played this year, and he admitted winning his second title this year at Roland Garros isn't achievable.
"I'm just realistic that I know I will not win the French and whoever thought I would or could win it is wrong," Federer told reporters last week. "Of course, crazier things might have happened, but I'm not so sure in the last 50 years at the French Open, somebody just rocked up at 40 years old, being out for a year and a half and just go on to just win everything straight."
Still, the trio's presence on one side of the draw opens the door for players on the other half, a group led by Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
On the women's side, a potential third clay championship showdown between Barty and Aryna Sabalenka is in the cards after they landed on opposite side of the draw.
They faced off in both Stuttgart (Barty in three sets) and Madrid (Sabalenka in three sets) over the past month, and a tiebreaker in the French final would be fitting.
Osaka, who's on Sabalenka's side of the draw, is probably the player with the best chance to spoil that budding rivalry. The four-time major champion announced Wednesday she'll skip media briefings throughout the tournament:
Defending women's champ Iga Swiatek is in Barty's half, but a potential meeting wouldn't come until the semifinals.
Meanwhile, It's hard to know what to expect from Williams, who's played just two tournaments since reaching the Australian Open semifinals in February and gone 1-2 in those events.
The 23-time major champion tends to rise to the occasion on the Grand Slam stages, however, so it's impossible to rule out another deep run at Roland Garros.
Play in the French Open begins Sunday with coverage on NBC and Tennis Channel.