French Open Tennis 2021: How to Watch Federer and Nadal First Round Matches, Schedule, Live Stream

The French Open returns to its traditional late spring slot, less than six months after being shunted to end of the September by the coronavirus pandemic, and Rafael Nadal has a chance to make history.

The Spaniard drew level with Roger Federer's tally of 20 men's Grand Slam singles titles after winning in Paris for the 13th time in October and could leave the Swiss in his wake were he to win lift the trophy on June 13.

The prospect of Nadal overtaking's Federer record may have seemed unthinkable in 2009, when the latter defeated the former in the French Open to clinch his 14th Grand Slam tournament crown, eight more than his rival had at the time.

Federer, however, last won a major in February 2018, with Nadal and Novak Djokovic each winning four of the next nine majors. Federer's chances of adding a 21st major to his glittering career appear remote, as the Swiss will be 40 in just over two months and last played at Grand Slam tournament in February of last year. To compound matters, he has undergone two knee surgeries since and has played just three matches over the last 15 months.

Diokovic, the No. 1 in the world and the top seed at the French Open, meanwhile needs two majors to draw level with his rivals and could meet Federer—the No. 8 seed—and Nadal—the No. 3 seed—in the quarterfinals and the semifinals respectively after the trio were all drawn in the same side of the bracket.

That leaves the door open for one of Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev to reach the final. The quartet have long been touted as the natural successors to tennis' Big Three, but Thiem is the only one to have won a major, defeating Zverev in the U.S. Open final last year.

Rafael Nadal at the French Open
Rafael Nadal of Spain practicing on Court Philippe-Chatrier in preparation for the 2021 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 27 in Paris, France. Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty Images

Tsitsipas, however, has already show his pedigree on clay, winning the Monte Carlo Masters last month before losing to Nadal in the final of the Barcelona Open.

Djokovic takes on the U.S. Tommy Sandgren in the first round on Sunday, while Nadal faces Australia's Alexei Popyrin, while Federer will face one of the still-to-be-determined qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek will be looking to become the first woman to defend the French Open title since Justin Henin won the tournament three times in a row between 2005 and 2007. Swiatek became the seventh different winner of the women's tournament in as many years last year and is the bookmakers' favorite, marginally ahead of world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who won in Paris two years ago.

World No. 2 Naomi Osaka is yet to reach the second week in four French Open appearances, while Serena Williams chases a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles titles. The American hasn't reached the final or her last four majors for the first time since 2008 and hasn't made it past the quarterfinals at the French Open since giving birth in 2017.

Here's all you need to know about the tournament.

French Open 2021 dates

The second major of the tennis season begins on Sunday, May 30 and runs until Sunday, June 13.

How to watch the French Open 2021 on TV

The French Open is broadcast by NBC, across its flagship channel, NBC Sports Network and Tennis Channel. The timings for the first week of the major are listed below in ET.

Sunday, May 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tennis Channel - First round
Sunday, May 30 12-3 p.m. on Peacock - First round
Monday, May 31 5 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tennis Channel - First round
Monday, May 31 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on NBC - First round
Tuesday, June 1 5 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tennis Channel - First round
Wednesday, June 2 5 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tennis Channel - Second round
Thursday, June 3 5 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tennis Channel - Second round
Friday, June 4 5 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tennis Channel - Third round
Saturday, June 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tennis Channel - Third round
Saturday, June 5 12-2 p.m. on NBC - Third round
Saturday, June 5 2-6 p.m. on Peacock - Third round
Sunday, June 6 5 a.m.-12 p.m. on Tennis Channel - Fourth round
Sunday, June 6 12-2 p.m. on NBC - Fourth round
Sunday, June 6 2-6 p.m. on Peacock - Fourth round

The complete schedule is available here, including dates and times for the Men's and Women's finals.

How to watch the French Open 2021 online

The tournament will be available to stream on Peacock—NBC's streaming service—the NBC Sports website and NBC Sports app. Streaming services like fuboTV and Sling TV both carry NBC.

French Open odds

Rafael Nadal is the bookmakers' favorite as he chases a record 21st Grand Slam title. The Spaniard starts the tournament as a 4-5 favourite with DraftKings and 5-6 with William Hill respectively, followed by Novak Djokovic at 4-1 and Stefanos Tsitsipas at 9-2. Dominic Thiem is 8-1 with William Hill and 12-1 with DraftKings, while Alexander Zverev is 12-1 with both bookmakers. Roger Federer, meanwhile, is a 40-1 long shot with William Hill and a 75-1 dark horse with DraftKings.

Among the women, defending champion Iga Swiatek is an 11-4 favorite to retain her crown, followed by 2019 winner Ashleigh Barty at 5-1. Aryna Sabalenka, Naomi Osaka and Garbine Muguruza follow at 8-1, 12-1 and 14-1 respectively.

About the writer

Dan Cancian is currently a reporter for Newsweek based in London, England. Prior to joining Newsweek in January 2018, he was a news and business reporter at International Business Times UK. Dan has also written for The Guardian and The Observer. 

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