Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will meet for the first time at a grand slam in Paris on Friday but the Serbian expects a familiar feeling.
Djokovic and Alcaraz met for the first – and only – time in Madrid last year, when the young Spaniard served notice that he was the present as well as the future of tennis by beating Rafael Nadal and Djokovic back to back.
Since then they have frustratingly missed each other, with Djokovic unable to play in the US Open, where Alcaraz won his first grand slam title, because of his vaccination status, while the 20-year-old was kept out of the Australian Open by injury.
They both reached the semi-finals dropping only one set but, Alcaraz has been the more impressive, spending three-and-a-half hours less on court than Djokovic in his five matches so far.
The Serbian, who can reclaim the world number one ranking by winning the title, looked in trouble for a while against Karen Khachanov before playing a flawless second-set tie-break.
Whoever wins in the last four will be favourite to beat the victor of Friday’s other semi-final between fourth seed Casper Rudd and Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
Friday’s order of play
(All times local, Paris is one hour later than BST. Play from 11.00)
14:45: (1) Carlos Alcaraz Garfia (Spa) v (3) Novak Djokovic (Ser)
(4) Casper Ruud (Nor) v (22) Alexander Zverev (Ger)
11:00: (10) Leylah Annie Fernandez (Can) & Taylor Townsend (USA) v (2) Cori Gauff (USA) & Jessica Pegula (USA),
(6) Nicole Melichar (USA) & Ellen Perez (Aus) v Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) & Xin Yu Wang (Chn)
How to watch the French Open 2023 on TV
In the UK, Eurosport has the broadcasting rights to live action from Paris. 273 live hours will be shown on Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 complementing the digital offering on discovery+ and the Eurosport App – where every match will be available to watch live throughout the tournament.
Every qualifying, wheelchair, junior and legends match will be available to watch live.
Eurosport’s on-site presentation team includes multiple grand slam winners Mats Wilander, Chris Evert and John McEnroe, who join Alex Corretja, Laura Robson and Alizé Lim in Paris. World No 4 and 2022 finalist Casper Ruud will also offer his insights. Tim Henman and Barbara Schett will anchor coverage from the mixed-reality Cube studio in London before presenting live from Paris from the semi-final stage of the tournament.
To watch on discovery+, an entertainment and sport pass is £6.99/month or £59.99/year.
In the United States the tournament is broadcast on ESPN.
When is the French Open 2023 final?
The women’s final will take place on June 10. The men’s final is on June 11.
What is the French Open prize money?
The French Open total prize pool is €49.6 million (£43.2 million), up 12.3 per cent on 2022.
The men’s and women’s singles champions will each take home €2.3 million (£2 million) and the finalists will earn €1.15 million (£1 million).
What happened to the British players?
Cameron Norrie’s tournament ended with a crushing third-round defeat to Lorenzo Musetti. Jack Draper retired from his first round match against Tomas Etcheverry with a shoulder problem while Dan Evans also went out in the opening round, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Britons were notably absent on the women’s side, after a dreadful qualifying tournament and due to the absence of Emma Raducanu through injury. It is the first time since 2009 that no British women have featured in the main draw at a major.
Why is Andy Murray not playing in Paris?
Andy Murray withdrew from this year’s French Open to prioritise the grass-court season in the build-up to Wimbledon.
Murray was beaten in the first round of the Italian Open and made another early exit on clay after losing to Stan Wawrinka at an ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux.
The 36-year-old is understood to still be considering which tournaments to target which may include Queen’s from June 19-25.
The great Scot says he still reckons he can mix it with the best. Andy Murray: I still feel like a world top 10 player
Who are the defending champions?
Last year, Rafael Nadal became the first man to win 22nd major singles titles after sweeping aside eighth seed Ruud 6–3, 6–3, 6–0.
Swiatek solidified her status as the world’s best women’s player when she overwhelmed Gauff, who was playing in her first major singles final, 6–1, 6–3.
What are the best of the latest odds?
Carlos Alcaraz 3/4
Novak Djokovic 7/2
Alexander Zverev 9/1
Casper Rudd 23/2
Iga Swiatek 2/17
Karolina Muchova 9/2
Odds correct as of June 8