Sergi Bruguera, winner of the French Open in 1993 and 1994, could face Peter Sampras, the world No 1, as early as the second round of this year's tournament, which starts on Monday, following the announcement of the draw yesterday.
The 25-year-old Spaniard finished his match preparation for the French with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat to the Swiss Marc Rosset at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf before learning of his schedule at Roland Garros.
Asked if he was disappointed to be so close to Sampras in the draw, the Spaniard said: "I will tell you next week. I have to play Javier Sanchez in the first round and then I will think about the next round. Sampras also has a tough first-round match [against Swede Magnus Gustafsson]."
Bruguera, who has been struggling with his game after an ankle injury, reached the semi-finals in Paris last year but is not seeded this season after dropping out of the top 20 for the first time for four years.
The French Open seeds its players according to world rankings, in contrast to Wimbledon which takes form on grass into account. Bruguera said it was fair that he was not seeded despite his past success at the tournament.
''I had three great years and now I am trying to recover my game again," he said. "It is not fair for the 16th player who is playing well to lose his place [in the seedings] to give me a chance."
Chile's Marcelo Rios will face the unseeded Spaniard Felix Mantilla in the final of the St Polten Grand Prix event in Austria after scraping through a tough challenge yesterday. Rios, the second seed and strong favourite after the world No 2 and French Open champion, Thomas Muster, pulled out with a sprained ankle, beat the sixth seed, Slava Dosedel of the Czech Republic, 7-6, 6-3.
In the women's Spanish Open in Madrid, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the second seed, was beaten in the semi-finals by Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva yesterday. The Spaniard's defeat means neither of the top two seeds will contest the final. Monica Seles, the joint world No 1, had to withdraw with the recurrence of a shoulder injury.
Rios rising fast, page 24, French Open draw, Sporting Digest, page 27