Draw takeaways: Djokovic lands in Alcaraz's half

Two-time RG champion could face the world No.1 in the semi-finals

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Roland-Garros 2022, practice© Amélie Laurin/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

128 names and one Parisian dream - Thursday's draw reveal at Porte d'auteuil gave context to the clay-court aspirations of the world's best players.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the draw.

Djokovic and Alcaraz in top half

The question on everybody's mind ahead of Thursday's draw ceremony was answered in rapid fashion: third-seeded Novak Djokovic was dropped into the top half - now fans can start drooling over a heavily-anticipated meeting between top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz and the two-time champion in the semi-finals.

Djokovic, beaten in the pair's only previous meeting in last year's Madrid semi-finals, is still in search mode when it comes to clay-court form. The 36-year-old won consecutive matches on clay for the first time all season last week in Rome, where he reached the quarter-finals before bowing out to rising Dane Holger Rune.


Not bad but not exactly "Djokovician" for the 22-time Grand Slam champion, who will kick off his campaign with a first-round tilt against American Aleksandar Kovacevic.

Alcaraz has been far more prolific on clay in 2023, turning in a 20-2 record on the red dirt with titles at Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Madrid - the 20-year-old is the top seed at a Grand Slam main draw for the first time.

Carlos Alcaraz, Roland-Garros 2023, practice© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Medvedev handed manageable path to semis

What a difference a year has made for Daniil Medvedev when it comes to performing on the red clay. The 27-year-old has gone from clay hater to connoisseur this spring, reeling off his first top-10 victories on the surface since 2019, including a stunning coup de grace last week in Rome, where he defeated the then seventh-ranked Rune at the Foro Italico to win his first clay-court Masters 1000 trophy.

Medvedev's turnaround is backed impressively by the numbers: he was 18-23 on clay heading into 2023, and has produced a 10-2 strike rate on the surface since.

Tucked into the bottom half, second-seeded Medvedev has a favourable draw that pits him against a qualifier in round one. If the seeds hold, the 2021 Roland-Garros quarter-finalist would face eighth-seeded Jannik Sinner, a player he has defeated in all six previous meetings, in the quarter-finals.

The Scandinavian quarter

Roland-Garros has taken on a decidedly Scandinavian flavor in recent years. In 2022, we saw the first all-Scandinavian men's singles quarter-final in tournament history, and the first at a Grand Slam since 2002, when Casper Ruud battled past then 19-year-old Rune, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Anybody ready for a rematch?


The rivals are on collision course once again this year in Paris, with fourth-seeded Ruud and sixth-seeded Rune tucked in the same quarter in the lower half of the draw.

If they meet in the last-eight stage it would mark the pair's second meeting of the spring, and fifth overall. Rune, who will face American Christopher Eubanks in his opening match, defeated Ruud for the first time in the semi-finals in Rome last week.

Casper Ruud Holger Rune Roland-Garros 2022©Clément Mahoudeau / FFT

Tsitsipas in Alcaraz's vicinity

2021 finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is always a threat on the red clay, and he continues to thrive in 2023, compiling a solid 13-4 record this spring on the surface. But to produce a career-best performance in Paris this year the talented Athenian may have to pass the ultimate test.


The 24-year-old Greek is slated to face top-seeded Alcaraz in the quarter-finals, the very juggernaut who dispatched him in this year's Barcelona final (6-3, 6-4) to improve to 4-0 lifetime against the Greek.

If he manages that herculean task, Djokovic could await in the semis.

For a proven clay-court commodity like No.5-seeded Tsitsipas, who will always enter Roland-Garros with title hopes, being tossed into the stacked top half makes him one of the biggest losers of today's draw.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, entraînements, Roland-Garros 2023©Philippe Montigny / FFT