Roland Garros 2021: Rafael Nadal faces challenging draw

Thirteen-time champion Rafael Nadal, 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer and world number one Novak Djokovic were placed in the same half of the French Open draw on Thursday.

Rafa, who starts against Australian Alexei Popyrin, could face Italian prospect Jannik Sinner, the 18th seed, in the fourth round a year after beating him in the quarter-finals.

In the other half of the draw, two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem’s path leads to a potential quarterfinal clash with German sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Projected quarter-finals:

  • [1] Novak Djokovic v [8] Roger Federer
  • [3] Rafael Nadal v [7] Andrey Rublev
  • [6] Alexander Zverev v [4] Dominic Thiem
  • [5] Stefanos Tsitsipas v [2] Daniil Medvedev

Rafa’s potential route to the final:

  • Round 1: Alexei Popyrin
  • Round 2: Richard Gasquet
  • Round 3: Lorenzo Sonego
  • Round 4: Gael Monfils
  • Quarter-final: Andrey Rublev
  • Semi-final: Novak Djokovic
  • Final: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev or Dominic Thiem

View Singles Draw


Source: Reuters


  1. Hope you do well rafa at rolland garros this year l love the statue very modern design good likeness of the photo hope you happy with it vamos rafa will be watching you at rolland garros.

    • There is a short video on the artist who made the statue. He works with all different types of materials but he chose this one because it symbolizes Rafa’s strength and endurance! Rafa is like the Terminator of tennis so it’s actually quite fitting! Trust me I am no connoisseur of art and should have researched the artist before making such hasty comments! In fact it’s unique & different just like Rafa!

  2. The statue really looks more like 2 time Roland Garros champion, Jim Courier. If someone showed it to me and I didn’t know it was supposed to be Rafa-I would never guess it was him. What a shame it doesn’t resemble him.

    • Sorry Margo! Guess I was a bit harsh with my opinion about the statue. I had envisioned a statue of Rafa’s likeness made of something more traditional other than what looks like scrap metal! The face is amazingly real like but like Rhonda R said looks more like Jim Courier rather than Rafa! (😂) I’m sorry I just don’t care for the artistic interpretation of this artist! I suppose it would be really hard to please everyone and a lot of people do like it!. I was expecting a Michelangelo type marble sculpture with chiseled detail of Rafa’s beautiful muscular physique! It’s a statue and a huge honor of Rafa‘s greatness, so I apologize for being so mean!

      • Nooo Ziggy, you were not being mean and I was not criticizing your opinion. I do apologize if I offended you. In fact, I laughed when I read your comment. With texting like this we have no point of reference and I do forget that at times.

        You said what you thought and a variety of opinions was expected. Look at it the way it is with artwork —a personal judgement and that’s all. No right or wrong. I’m just happy that Rafa thinks it’s amazing.

      • You never offend me Margo! I was worried that I might have offended a lot of people who appreciate & have a real knowledge of art. My first impression of the statue was that it reminded me of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz… especially the face! I’m betting that it really is spectacular in person and will be Interested in those of you who are going to RG to hear what they think of it!

  3. Yes…This is a strange draw with most of the young bucks on the bottom half….
    Oh well….they’re just going to have to play eachother to get to Rafa….

    Get comfortable Rafa…. Court Philippe Chatrier is calling you, one match at a time …

    VAMOS RAFA!!!!

    • I was thinking the same thing that the “young bucks,” as you put it, would cancel each other out. David also mentioned its oddness

      Am also thinking that this draw will see a huge deviation from previous draws of any tournament perhaps because of where the “young bucks” are located in the line of match matchups. I always have a problem with understanding the draw so if I’m not making sense please forgive me or even correct me.

      I did not expect an easy draw for Rafa so for me this isn’t an awful draw. Rafa usually has to face very strong players in the semi’s and final —- the quarterfinal as well —- in the same tournament.

      Rafa will battle until he is “the last man standing.” He is the epitome of that expression and why he is the champion athlete he is.

  4. Only a can see is Rafa he is going to play so good he is ready for a great tennis match vamosssssss champ you can do it again remember you are the King on Clay 💪💪💪💪👍👍👍👍❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸❤️

  5. Rafa chose the sculptor, Spaniard Jordi Diéz Fernandez, who said it was a tribute to Rafa’s strength. Made of stainless steel it stands 3 meters tall, 4.89 meters wide, and 2 meters deep.

    His “mastery of figurative expression, particularly in the human face, is one of the defining features of his work.”

    Me? I find it hard to recognize Rafa.

    • I’m sorry but I don’t like anything about that statue. It’s kind of creepy, the face looks really real but there’s not one feature of Rafa‘s. Plus 🤬 is he wearing… maybe Nike should’ve stepped in a little bit to dress him. I think they should melt it and start over!

      • I would LOVE to know where the rumor started that it would be colored terre battue. Even I repeated that piece of misinformation. Gggeezzz!

        Melt it? Your vote has been counted👎. We have yes’s, no’s, and undecideds.

  6. When, can anybody tell me when our GOAT ever had a soft draw…never in my humble opinion

  7. It could be much worse. His opponents will give him the types of games for him to be ready for the tough at the end. Bowling over less skilled players may give confidence but do not give good practice to build on. Vamos, man!!!

    • Good Luck Rafa For Maybe Toughest draw for him in the French open, but you know how to beat him on terre bettaue….14th RG would be our’s…. Although they are putting everyone who can have a chance 💪💪💪💪

      • No draw is tough for Rafa when it comes to RG . On this turf , he is better than anyone on anything. It’s a tournament where 127 players compete to see who looses to Nadal in the finals. 14th RG in 2 weeks time.

  8. It’s an awful draw, but one match at a time. On a different note, I was surprised to hear Naomi Osaka say that she doesn’t think players should have to do post match press conferences if they’ve lost.

    • She will not be giving post-match interviews starting with the FO. She will simply pay any fine and has asked that it be donated to a mental health charity. No info about on-court interviews.

      She posted a message on Instagram which fully explains her decision which basically says it’s unhealthy for players to be forced to give an interview after a loss.

      I don’t think players will join her as a matter of practice. Her statement doesn’t address post-match interviews for those who win a match.

      I understand her message but don’t agree with her solution. Dialogue?

      • I take her point, but I don’t feel that just unilaterally saying “I’m not doing any press conferences, end of,” is very helpful. Dealing with the media is part of a professional sports player’s job.

      • Setinthepast

        She has managed to infuriate the FFT president and Guy Forget. They see the interviews as promoting tennis.

        She sees it as “We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

        She hasn’t gone further than R3 at the FO so the timing of her announcement seems dubious. It’s not a good look.

        The NYTimes said post-match interviews are a requirement and that players also do interview duty during tournaments.

        I rarely compare Rafa to other players because he is on such a different level and I’m not referring to his 20 Slams. It’s in his DNA to be gracious and caring. He’s been through some BRUTAL losses. Yes, there have been flashes of anger during an interview or two but he moves on and finishes the interview. Sensitivity is not a female trait, is a human trait and Rafa has it.

        As I write this, I suggest Naomi get a sports psychologist to help her deal with her problem about interviews. She can well afford it. She talks mental health but doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of the resources at her disposal.

        Curious to see how the WTA will respond.

    • @Margo

      I agree with your take on Osaka’s refusal to do the post match interviews. Personally I love Rafa’s post-loss interviews and find them a comfort. He’s so sensible, down to earth, honest and optimistic!

  9. Rafa is ready. Let’s take one match at a time. We have faith in Rafa. 🇪🇸🌟🍀

    • Not great, but it was never going to be easy for Rafa. Wishing him the very best of luck.

      • I think the ONLY guess is who will be Rafa’s opponent in the final.


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