Andy Murray to face Radek Stepanek in French Open opener

Andy Murray
Murray has reached the semi-finals three times at the French Open
French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 22 May to 5 June
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on selected matches on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, the BBC Sport website and app.

British men's number one Andy Murray will face Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in the first round of the French Open.

World number two Murray has won six of their eight past matches, but was taken to three sets by the 37-year-old world number 129 earlier this month.

Johanna Konta, Britain's top-ranked female player, will start her campaign against German Julia Goerges.

Compatiots Aljaz Bedene and Kyle Edmund will play Gerald Melzer and Nikoloz Basilashvili respectively.

Heather Watson takes on American Nicole Gibbs, Laura Robson plays Germany's Andrea Petkovic and Naomi Broady faces the United States' Coco Vandeweghe.

Dream opponent
On the night before his 2013 Wimbledon final, Andy Murray dreamed he would be facing either Radek Stepanek or then-world number 109 Denis Kudla the following day.
"When you wake up and you're playing the world number one, it's a bit different," he said in the aftermath of his historic win over Novak Djokovic.

Robson, in particular, faces a tough challenge as Petkovic is a former semi-finalist at the clay-court tournament, which begins on Sunday, 22 May in Paris.

Defending women's champion Serena Williams, who will start against Magdalena Rybarikova, is in the same half of the draw as Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka, the third and fifth seeds respectively.

Murray eyes first final, Djokovic bids to make history

Murray, 29, is in the same half of the draw as reigning champion Stan Wawrinka, with world number one Novak Djokovic and nine-time winner Rafael Nadal in the opposite half.

Andy Murray happy with coaching set-up

Having reached three semi-finals in Paris, Murray goes into this year's tournament having beaten Djokovic on clay in the final of the Italian Open earlier this month.

In the previous tournament, the Scot beat Nadal as he reached the Madrid Open final before losing to Djokovic.

"There's a lot of guys coming back that will be feeling good about their chances," Murray told the French Open website.

"I hope I can have a good run and get some good work done in the next few days to get ready."

The French Open is the only Grand Slam Djokovic, who lost in the final to Wawrinka last year, is yet to win and he is attempting to become the first man since 1969 to hold all four majors at the same time.

The Serb will play Lu Yen-hsun in round one, while Nadal will play Australian Sam Groth. Wawrinka will begin his title defence against Lukas Rosol.

Roger Federer has withdrawn after failing to recover from a back injury, while Frenchman Gael Monfils has pulled out because of a viral infection.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

"It seemed very much in Nadal's interests to be promoted to fourth seed after Roger Federer's withdrawal, but he has ended up with the toughest draw of the three most in-form players.

"He may need to beat both Dominic Thiem and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before even thinking about a semi-final with Djokovic.

"Murray will be pleased to be in the other half of the draw - but less delighted with the prospect of meeting Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

"None of the four British women have terrifying draws, but each of their opponents can be very dangerous on their day. And Serena Williams may have to beat Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber just to reach the final."

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