The French Open commences with a potentially explosive clash between Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk and Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka, marking the beginning of a new era where Rafael Nadal will be absent from the famous red clay for the first time since 2004. The 14-time champion Nadal, who is currently injured, will sit out the 2023 edition of the tournament. He has lost only three out of 115 matches played at the French Open. In Nadal's absence, Novak Djokovic, a two-time winner and the man responsible for two of Nadal's three career losses in Paris, will strive to surpass the Spaniard with a record-setting 23rd major title.However, the opening day of the French Open puts the spotlight on the sporting repercussions of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. World number two and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus faces Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk in the first match on Court Philippe Chatrier.Kostyuk gained attention last year when she refused to shake hands with Belarusian compatriot and former world number one Victoria Azarenka at the US Open. Instead, she opted for a cursory touch of racquets at the net. Ranked 39th, Kostyuk has been a vocal critic of allowing Russian and Belarusian players to continue competing on the tour following the invasion of her country. It is expected that she will once again forgo the traditional end-of-match handshake on Sunday. "If she hates me, okay. I can't do anything about that," said 25-year-old Sabalenka. "About the no shaking, I can kind of understand them. Like I imagine if they're going to shake hands with Russians and Belarusians, then they're gonna get so many messages from their home countries. "If they feel good with no shaking hands, I'm happy with that." Regarding their previous encounter, Sabalenka defeated Kostyuk in Dubai in February 2022, just a week before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, Kostyuk has a better record in Paris, having reached the last 16 in 2021, while Sabalenka has never progressed beyond the third round. In other matches, fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was the runner-up to Djokovic in the 2021 final, begins his quest for a first Grand Slam title against Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic. Tsitsipas has had a solid clay court season, finishing as the runner-up in Barcelona and reaching the semi-finals in Rome last week. Andrey Rublev, the seventh seed and champion of Monte Carlo in April, starts his campaign against Laslo Djere of Serbia. Rublev has reached the quarter-finals in Paris twice before, while Djere, ranked 57th, has reached the third round on two occasions. The French Open promises thrilling encounters and captivating storylines as the world's best tennis players vie for glory on the clay courts of Roland Garros.