French Open 2015: Men's, women's draws released
Over the past decade, Spain's Rafael Nadal has owned the French Open, winning nine of the past 10 titles and 66 of his last 67 matches at Roland Garros.
But Friday's draw seeded the slumping Nadal at No. 6 in the wake of his performance so far in 2015. Nadal has already lost five times on clay this year and will open his title defense against Quentin Halys, ranked 304th in the world.
Serbian star and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is considered the pole-sitter at the event despite never having won the clay court major.
Djokovic is 35-2 in 2015, has already won five tournaments this year and comes into the French Open on a 22-match winning streak. Nadal and Djokovic are on the same side of the draw and could meet in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, 33-year-old Roger Federer, who earned the No. 2 seed, will look to win his second French Open title when the tournament begins Monday.
Third-ranked Andy Murray, who had a strong clay court season and defeated Nadal earlier this month at the ATP Masters Series tournament in Madrid, could pose a challenge to the field, while Japan's Kei Nishikori is coming off a title defense at the Barcelona Open last month.
The men's tournament will be without No. 6 Milos Raonic, who announced Thursday he was withdrawing due to a lingering foot injury.
The women's draw is led by the top-ranked player in the world, Serena Williams, who will be going after her 20th Grand Slam title. Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova looks to defend her 2014 title and will start off against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
American Sloane Stephens will play seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in the first round.
Romania's Simona Halep, seeded No. 3, will aim to improve on her previous top Grand Slam finish, which came at this tournament last year when she lost in the finals to Sharapova, while No. 4 seed and 2011 tour champion Petra Kvitova, the only woman to beat Serena Williams this year, will try to get past the French Open semifinals for the first time in her career.
The French Open begins May 24 with the first and second rounds taking place over the first six days of the tournament. The third and fourth rounds of both draws will take place from May 29–June 1, while the quarterfinals take place June 2–3.
Both the men's and women's tournaments' finals and semifinals will take place June 4–7 and air on NBC.