Friday's draw, conducted by Nadal at Roland Garros, also handed
women's champion Serena Williams a tricky route.
Eight-times champion Nadal plays American Robbie Ginepri in round
one but Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer are seeded to face him in
the fourth round and the quarter-final respectively.
Almagro surprisingly beat Nadal in the quarter-finals of the
Barcelona Open while Ferrer, who the Mallorcan beat in last year's
French Open final, knocked him out at the same stage at the Monte
"Last week in Rome was tough physically but sometimes you need these
things. I played a bit better during the tournament," Nadal told a
Defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final meant Nadal has
lost three matches on the European claycourt swing for the first
time in a decade, raising doubts over his form.
Djokovic, chasing the only grand slam title missing from his
collection, takes on Portuguese Joao Sousa in the first round en
route to a possible semi-final showdown against former world number
one Roger Federer.
Fourth seed Federer plays Slovakian Lukas Lacko in the first round
while his fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, the third seed, faces a
tough first round against plays Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in
Wawrinka is seeded to meet Nadal in the semi-finals.
Federer, who won the title in 2009, believes there will be little
room for surprises at this year's tournament.
"I think at Roland Garros it is a war of attrition, you have to play
more shots and you can't rely too much on a good serve to get
yourself out of a tricky situation," the 32-year-old told a news
Briton Andy Murray, the seventh seed, is on collision course with
Wawrinka after a last-eight spot in Rome boosted his confidence
following a rough start to the year.
[to top of second column]
Murray is up against Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev.
Women's holder and world number one Williams was drawn against
France's Alize Lim in the first round before a likely quarter-final
clash with Russian Maria Sharapova, whom she beat in last year's
Seventh seed Sharapova has been improving greatly on clay over the
years and won the Stuttgart and Madrid titles this year back to
back. She faces a qualifier in round one.
Second seed Li Na of China, winner in 2011, also faces French
opposition in round one in the shape of Kristina Mladenovic. World
number four Simona Halep of Romania is Li's potential semi-final
The top half of the women's draw looks tougher than the bottom with
Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki, Australian Samantha Stosur and
third seed Agnieszka Radwanska lurking.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Martyn Herman)
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