Paris – Top seed Rafael Nadal will start his bid for an 11th Roland Garros title against Ukraine’s world number 54 Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Nadal, fresh from an eighth Rome clay court title having also won his 11th trophies in Barcelona and Monte Carlo already this spring, has a 7-2 record over Dolgopolov.
“It’s always special when I come back to Paris where I have had so many wonderful moments in my career,” said Nadal at the draw ceremony ahead of the French Open which starts on Sunday.
One glance at the draw would have left the 31-year-old Spaniard feeling even more special after former champions Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka as well as clay court dangerman Dominic Thiem all landed in the other half of the draw where Alexander Zverev is the second seed.
Nadal’s path to the final could see him face childhood friend Richard Gasquet in the third round, possibly Denis Shapovalov in the last-16, then Kevin Anderson, who he beat in the 2017 US Open final, and third-seed Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.
Zverev, who lost to Nadal in the Rome final last weekend, has never got beyond the third round in Paris and was defeated in the first round last year.
The 21-year-old German, who is seeded second in the absence of Roger Federer, begins his French Open against Ricardis Berankis of Lithuania.
Djokovic, the 2016 champion, starts against a qualifier and could meet Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.