Like many other major tennis tournaments, the excitement of the French Open begins before play even starts. Everyone wants to know who will end up where in the draw.
There is as much depth in the sport as there has been in years, so even the best players have to be cautious about upsets much earlier than usual. The top seeds cannot simply coast to the semifinals when they could face another tough competitor in the first few rounds.
On the men's side, everyone will likely want to avoid Rafael Nadal until the finals. The Spanish star has won at Roland Garros seven of the last eight times and is as hot as any player on tour right now. The women's draw has a similar mindset with Serena Williams, who has been almost unstoppable in the past year.
The draw for the French Open can be as important as the play on court sometimes, so make sure you do not miss this big moment.
Date: Friday, May 24
Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
Where: Roland Garros, Paris, France
Live Stream: Roland Garros TV
How the Process Works
According to the Roland Garros official website, the organization will make the draws in a way that uses a mix between current technology and an old-fashioned feel:
The draw that will be performed on Friday 24 May this year will be "semi-electronic". It will begin with the women's singles: the (96) unseeded players will be placed electronically in the draw. The 32 seeds will then be drawn "manually", a procedure that is usually performed by the reigning men's champion, namely Rafael Nadal.
Having the player actually draw the names out of a hat gives the tournament that traditional style that keeps it one of the best events on tour every year.
With his latest win at the Rome Masters, Nadal passed David Ferrer for the No. 4 spot in the world rankings. This will allow him to get that seed at the French Open, following Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer in that order.
While getting the fourth seed does not ordinarily seem like a big deal, this clinches the fact that Nadal will not face any of the top players until at least the semifinals. Still, he should clearly be the favorite entering the week.
To help the Spanish player even more is the fact that Djokovic has not been playing like the best player in the world in recent weeks. He has lost early in each of the past two tournaments and it is possible that he is still hurting from the ankle injury that he suffered earlier in the season.
Federer and Murray will always be tough to beat, but both of them are much better on grass courts. While these elite competitors should have a deep run, winning the championship will certainly be a challenge.
Fans should also watch for David Ferrer, who has played very well on clay in his career and should do well as the No. 5 seed in this event.
It is hard to bet against Serena Williams at this point. She has won four tournaments in a row and has not lost a match since the beginning of February.
On the other hand, she has struggled mightily in her career at Roland Garros. She has not won since 2002, and she has not even reached the semifinals since 2003.
This could leave the door open for defending champion Maria Sharapova, who will enter as the No. 2 seed. When she is not playing Williams, the Russian has been very impressive lately and has already proven her ability to win on clay.
Of course, Victoria Azarenka will remain in contention as well, despite some early exits in recent tournaments. The former No. 1 is as consistent in Grand Slam events as anyone on tour.
As far as sleepers go, Li Na has done well at the French Open in the past and could give the top seeds a run for their money.