Paris [France], May 27 (ANI): Serbian tennis great Novak Djokovic will start his quest for a record 23rd Grand Slam title in the absence of Spanish star and 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal as the French Open 2023 kickstarts from the iconic Roland Garros Stadium from Sunday.
The French Open main draw begins on Sunday.
Djokovic however has to overcome an obstacle in the form of young, rising Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz.
Alcaraz, currently the world number one in ATP Rankings is pitted in the same half as the world number three Djokovic, as per Olympics.com.
Last year, the two tennis stars crossed paths at the ATP Masters 1000 Madrid semifinal in Spain. In three sets, Alcaraz defeated the two-time French Open champion.
Former US Open champion and number two Daniil Medvedev and up-and-coming Denmark star Holger Rune, placed at number six are some of the players to watch out for. World number four and 2022 French Open finalist Casper Ruud could also be a huge threat.
Nadal, the last year's champion, who has won a record 14 titles on the clay courts in Paris, will be missing out on the tournament due to an injury for the first time since 2004.
Nadal and Djokovic, with 22 tennis major titles each, are currently tied for the most number of Grand Slam titles won by a men's singles player.
Iga Swiatek of Poland, the defending women's singles champion and a former Youth Olympic gold medalist, will attempt to become the first woman since Serena Williams to win three French Open championships. Swiatek won the 2020 title despite being unseeded and also beat young American sensation Coco Gauff in the finals last year.
Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan will be the main challengers to Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros in 2023.
Other prominent contenders include former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, who won the 2021 French Open, and Gauff, the finalist from the previous year.
The only Indian participant in the 2023 French Open singles category is Ankita Raina, an Asian Games bronze medalist.
Raina, the 212th-ranked tennis player in the world, won over Emeline Dartron of France in the first round of the qualifiers 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 before losing to Moyuka Uchijima of Japan in the second round 7(7)-6(1), 6-1.
In men's doubles, the in-form Rohan Bopanna will partner with his Australian partner Matthew Ebden. Bopanna had recently risen to world number 9 among men's doubles competitors in ATP Rankings.
Rohan Bopanna won the mixed doubles title at French Open 2017 with Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski. His participation in mixed doubles this year is not confirmed yet.
In the men's doubles category, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni, an all-Indian team, will also compete.
The tournament will conclude on June 11.
French Open 2023 schedule-May 28, Sunday: First round - men's and women's singles-May 29, Monday: First round - men's and women's singles-May 30, Tuesday: First round - men's and women's singles; start of doubles competitions-May 31, Wednesday: Second round - men's and women's singles;-June 1, Thursday: Second round - men's and women's singles;-June 2, Friday: Third round - men's and women's singles-June 3, Saturday: Third round - men's and women's singles-June 4, Sunday: Fourth round - men's and women's singles-June 5, Monday: Fourth round - men's and women's singles-June 6, Tuesday: Quarter-finals - men's and women's singles-June 7, Wednesday: Quarter-finals - men's and women's singles-June 8, Thursday: Mixed doubles final; women's semi-finals-June 9, Friday: Men's semi-finals-June 10, Saturday: Women's singles final; men's doubles final-June 11, Sunday: Men's singles final; women's doubles final. (ANI)