Italian Open draw: Djokovic faces tough path, Nadal eyes favourable early matchups

Italian Open draw: Djokovic faces tough path, Nadal eyes favourable early matchups

The draw for the 2024 Italian Open has been revealed, with both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal set to be in action.

Djokovic, returning after skipping the Madrid Open, will look to add to his six Italian Open titles, while Nadal, who recently made his latest comeback from injury, is eyeing a record 10th triumph at the event.

The main draw of the Masters 1000 tournament gets underway on Wednesday.

With Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz sidelined due to injury, Djokovic is the top seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev is seeded second. 

Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Grigor Dimitrov, and Hubert Hurkacz complete the top eight seeds.

Djokovic and Zverev, boasting strong clay-court records, find themselves in the top half of the draw. 

Djokovic's potential path includes matchups against rising stars like Jakub Mensik or Alejandro Tabilo, and formidable opponents like Karen Khachanov or Francisco Cerundolo. 

Ruud, who has beaten Djokovic on clay in the past, could await in the later rounds, with Zverev looming as a possible semifinal opponent.

Meanwhile, Nadal, positioned away from Djokovic, awaits his first-round opponent from the qualifying rounds, although his path forward will quickly become more challenging. 

The Spaniard could face encounters with Hubert Hurkacz in round two, while Tomas Martin Etcheverry or the dangerous Thiago Seyboth Wild possibly lie in wait in round three. 

Tenth seed Holger Rune or 17th seed Sebastian Baez are potential last 16 opponents, with Medvedev looming as a quarterfinal opponent.

As Djokovic eyes a possible clash with Nadal in the final, the Spaniard's focus will bw on navigating through the earlier rounds as he looks to reassert himself on his favourite surface.

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