French Open 2014: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and James Ward all in action on Monday
Last Updated: 26/05/14 3:45pm
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the top two seeds in the men’s draw, both get their French Open campaigns under way on Monday.
Eight-time champion Nadal will face American veteran Robby Ginepri while in-form Djokovic has been paired against Portugal’s Joao Sousa.
The main talking point to emerge from Monday’s order of play was the fact that Nadal’s match has not been scheduled for the main court at Roland Garros.
That Nadal would begin the defence of his title on Court Philippe Chatrier was viewed as a certainty but instead it is Djokovic who takes centre stage in Paris, with Nadal relegated to Court Suzanne Lenglen.
It would be no suprise if the scheduling story remains the major talking point at the end of the day as neither Djokovic nor Nadal is expected to be troubled by their opponents.
Nadal and Ginepri have faced each other once before with the Spaniard winning in straight sets, while Djokovic lost just four games in his only previous meeting with Sousa, at last year’s US Open.
World No 1 Nadal has looked more vulnerable than usual on clay this year but a loss to Ginepri would be an even bigger shock than his recent reverses against Lukas Rosol and Steve Darcis at Wimbledon.
Wawrinka and Ward
Stanislas Wawrinka, the third seed on the men’s side of the draw, will also be in action on Monday as he goes up against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Philippe Chatrier.
The only British interest on either side of the draw on Monday is out on Court Six, where James Ward is on second against Tommy Robredo.
Ward became the first British man in 41 years to make it through the qualifying tournament but most would predict his run will come to an end against 17th seed Robredo, who is a five-time quarter-finalist at Roland Garros.
Garcia-Lopez is an experienced campaigner who won the Grand Prix Hassan II on clay in Morocco last month, but he has never been past the second round of the French Open and is not expected to trouble the Swiss No 1.
On the women’s side of the draw, 2012 champion Maria Sharapova takes on fellow Russian Ksenia Pervak in the opening match on Philippe Chatrier.
The other match on the main court at Roland Garros sees French No 1 Alize Cornet take on 18-year-old Australian Ashleigh Barty, who won the Wimbledon junior title three years ago.
Fifth seed Petra Kvitova and ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova are both in action on Suzanne Lenglen, taking on Zarina Diyas and Virginie Razzano respectively.