French Open 2021: When is the draw, when does it start and how to watch on TV in the UK
After being moving back a week due to coronavirus concerns, the French Open is on the horizon. Following disruption last year, Roland Garros is in its more traditional place in the tennis calendar and the world’s best are starting to arrive in Paris. Once again, all eyes will be on Rafael Nadal as he bids to win an astonishing 14th French Open title and a record 21st Grand Slam. World No 1 Novak Djokovic will be the biggest threat to Nadal’s chances and will aiming to avenge his comprehensive defeat to the Spaniard in the 2020 final. Roger Federer will be in action in Paris, his first major tournament appearance since losing to Djokovic at the Australian Open in January last year. While Nadal is the clear favourite in the men’s draw, the women’s draw is wide open. Defending champion Iga Swiatek has the likes of 2019 winner Ashleigh Barty, world No 2 Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka all targeting victory. And you can never discount Serena Williams, who is continuing her bid for a record-equalling 24th major title. Meanwhile, new to Roland Garros is the introduction of a night session match on Philippe-Chatrier, echoing the US Open and Australian Open. When is the French Open draw? The draw for the tournament takes place at 5pm on Thursday, May 27 with a statue for 13-time champion Nadal set to be unveiled. When does the French Open start? In contrast to the other majors, the French Open begins on a Sunday and this year’s event gets underway on May 30. Will Andy Murray be playing in Paris? No. Unfortunately for the three-time Grand Slam winner will not be competing in Paris. Muray has been struggling with a groin injury since March and is now putting his efforts towards Wimbledon, next starts next month. The former world No 1 also missed the Australian Open in February after contracting coronavirus. Which other big names are missing? Two former champions, Simona Halep and Stan Wawrinka, have pulled out due to injury. British player Kyle Edmund has been struggling with injury all year and will also be absent after surgery on his left knee in April. Canadian world No 14 Denis Shapovalov has a shoulder injury and withdrew at the weekend after losing to Casper Ruud at the Geneva Open. Where to watch the French Open 2021 on TV ITV have exclusive free-to-air live coverage of the French Open from Sunday, May 30. Presenter John Inverdale leads the broadcasting team including British Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong, 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, four-time Grand Slam winner Jim Courier, Andy Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey, Fabrice Santoro and former British ladies number one Samantha Smith. Nick Mullins and Jonathan Overend will be in the commentary box, with Celina Hinchcliffe the on-site reporter.