French Open: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are among the men to watch in 2024

PARIS (AP) — Here are some of the men to watch at the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros on Sunday:

Novak Djokovic

Seeding: 1

Career-Best Ranking: 1

Country: Serbia

Age: 37

2024 Record: 12-5 (Entering Geneva)

2024 Titles: Zero

Career Titles: 98

Grand Slam Titles: 24 — French Open (3: 2016, 2021, 2023), Australian Open (10: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023), Wimbledon (7: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022), U.S. Open (4: 2011, 2015, 2018, 2023)

Last 5 French Opens: 2023-Won Championship, 2022-Lost in Quarterfinals, 2021-Won Championship, 2020-Runner-Up, 2019-Lost in Semifinals

The Bracket: Could face No. 30 Lorenzo Musetti — who took a two-set lead against Djokovic in the fourth round in 2021 before Djokovic went on to the title — in the third round.

Aces: Hasn’t won a title this season and went to the Geneva Open the week before the French Open for some extra preparation. … Was hit in the head by a fan’s water bottle in Rome and went to get checked by doctors. … Holds the men’s record for the most Grand Slam singles titles and has spent the most weeks at No. 1 in the half-century of computerized singles rankings. … Has played sparingly in 2024, sitting out Masters 1000 events in Miami and Madrid. … Dropped coach Goran Ivanisevic in March and has not announced a replacement.

He Said It: “Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Olympic Games — that’s the block for which we are preparing the most.”

Read All About It: Djokovic leaves the GOAT debate to others

Jannik Sinner

Seeding: 2

Career-Best Ranking: 2

Country: Italy

Age: 22

2024 Record: 28-2

2024 Titles: 3

Career Titles: 13

Grand Slam Titles: 1 — Australian Open (2024)

Last 5 French Opens: 2023-2nd, 2022-4th, 2021-4th, 2020-QF, 2019-Did Not Play

The Bracket: Faces big-serving American Chris Eubanks in the first round.

Aces: Coming off a hip injury that forced him to withdraw before a match at Madrid Open and skip the Italian Open entirely. … Won his first major championship at the Australian Open in January, eliminating Novak Djokovic in the semifinals and then coming back after losing the opening two sets of the final to defeat Daniil Medvedev in five. … First Italian man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Adriano Panatta at the 1976 French Open. … Led Italy to the Davis Cup title in November.

He Said It: “Look, I haven’t changed because of the success. I don’t believe in these kind of things, because the way you are as a human being is much more important than all the rest.”

Read All About It: Sinner does things his way

Carlos Alcaraz

Seeding: 3

Career-Best Ranking: 1

Country: Spain

Age: 21

2024 Record: 18-5

2024 Titles: 1

Career Titles: 13

Grand Slam Titles: 2 — U.S. Open (2022), Wimbledon (2023)

Last 5 French Open: 2023-SF, 2022-QF, 2021-3rd, 2020-DNP, 2019-DNP

The Bracket: Could face No. 6 Andrey Rublev or No. 9 Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 2021 runner-up, in the quarterfinals.

Aces: Pulled out of three key clay-court tournaments ahead of the French Open — in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome — because of a lingering issue with his right forearm, leaving his status for Paris in doubt. … Already has established a riveting rivalry with another young player and major champion, Jannik Sinner. … After losing to Novak Djokovic in last year’s semifinals in Paris, beat him in the final at Wimbledon.

He Said It: “Every time that I’m hitting the forehand, I’m thinking about the forearm.”

Read All About It: Alcaraz is exactly who everyone thought he was

Daniil Medvedev

Seeding: 5

Career-Best Ranking: 1

Country: Russia

Age: 28

2024 Record: 24-7

2024 Titles: Zero

Career Titles: 20

Grand Slam Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (2021)

Last 5 French Opens: 2023-1st, 2022-4th, 2021-QF, 2020-1st, 2019-1st

The Bracket: Could face Rafael Nadal, No. 4 Alexander Zverev or No. 13 Holger Rune in the quarterfinals.

Aces: Is 1-5 in Grand Slam finals, all on hard courts, including a loss against Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open in January. Each of Medvedev’s other title matches came against Novak Djokovic or Nadal. … Medvedev’s first-round exit in Paris a year ago — which came after he won the clay-court Italian Open — marked the first time the French Open’s No. 2-seeded man lost that early since Pete Sampras in 2000. … Dealt with a hip issue that caused him to stop playing in Madrid.

He Said It: “When I ran, I wanted to run faster and faster during the movement and suddenly felt my hip kind of blocked.”

Read All About It: Medvedev’s Grand Slam trophy came at Djokovic’s expense

Casper Ruud

Seeding: 7

Career-Best Ranking: 2

Country: Norway

Age: 25

2024 Record: 31-9 (Entering Geneva)

2024 Titles: 1

Career Titles: 11

Grand Slam Titles: None — Best: Runner-Up, French Open (2022, 2023), U.S. Open (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2023-Runner-Up, 2022-RU, 2021-3rd, 2020-3rd, 2019-3rd

The Bracket: Could face No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, in what would be a rematch of last year’s final, won by Djokovic.

Aces: Has won 12 of his past 14 matches at the French Open, with losses against Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the past two finals. … Trained at Nadal’s tennis academy in Spain. … Had been 0-7 for his career in tournament finals above the ATP 250 level — including 0-3 at majors — until winning the Barcelona Open on clay in April.

He Said It: “I have achieved — sometimes when I think about it — more things than I thought was possible in my career. But by doing that, you also want to chase and push for even more.”

Read All About It: Ruud has come close to winning Grand Slam titles

Rafael Nadal

Seeding: Unseeded (Ranked No. 276)

Career-Best Ranking: 1

Country: Spain

Age: 37 (Turns 38 on June 3)

2024 Record: 7-4

2024 Titles: Zero

Career Titles: 92

Grand Slam Titles: 22 — French Open (14: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022), Australian Open (2: 2009, 2022), Wimbledon (2: 2008, 2010), U.S. Open (4: 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)

Last 5 French Opens: 2023-DNP, 2022-W, 2021-SF, 2020-W, 2019-W

The Bracket: Will face No. 4 Alexander Zverev in the first round, a rematch of their 2022 semifinal that ended when Zverev got injured; Nadal is 112-1 in first-round matches on clay.

Aces: Returns to the French Open after missing his favorite tournament a year ago because of a hip injury that required surgery. … He has only played 15 matches over the past two seasons because of hip and abdominal muscle problems. … No other man or woman has won a Slam tournament as many times as Nadal’s 14 trophies at Roland Garros. … Has never lost two matches in a row on clay, anywhere.

He Said It: “I need to prove (to) myself if I am able to push my body to the limit that I need to push to feel myself ready for what’s coming.”

Read All About It: What does the future hold for Nadal?


Howard Fendrich has been the AP’s tennis writer since 2002. Find his stories here:


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