Maria Sharapova
Getty Images

Maria Sharapova to ‘play through Tokyo,’ agent believes

1 Comment

Maria Sharapova‘s meldonium ban took her away from the WTA Tour for 15 months, but it also should extend her career to one more Olympics in Tokyo, her agent said, according to CNN.

“If [the suspension] didn’t happen, this probably would have been her last year,” said Sharapova’s agent, Max Eisenbud, according to the report. “I think she’ll play through Tokyo [if healthy].”

Sharapova, set to return from her ban next month, received a “third career” due to the forced break that allowed her body to heal from an accumulation of injuries, Eisenbud said, according to CNN.

Sharapova will be 33 years old come the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, two years older than any previous Russian Olympic tennis player. She will likely have to be ranked among the top four Russians in the world in spring 2020 to qualify for the Games outright.

Sharapova’s passion for the Olympics is well documented.

She carried the Russian flag into the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and carried the Olympic flame into Fisht Stadium at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony, where she worked for NBC Olympics.

In February 2016, Sharapova entered a Fed Cup tie, despite saying she was injured, in order to receive Olympic eligibility. (Also in February 2016, Eisenbud reportedly said Sharapova would definitely not play in Tokyo)

One month later, her failed drug test was announced.

Two women’s players, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams, have achieved the singles career Golden Slam — winning all four majors and the Olympics. Sharapova, beaten by Williams 6-0, 6-1 in the London 2012 final, is a Tokyo title away from joining them.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Venus Williams targets 2020 Olympics at age 40

Warrior!! In my new @nikenyc gear thinking of #Tokyo ❤

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

Roger Federer takes in World Champs with Lindsey Vonn

Leave a comment

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — Roger Federer picked a good day for a front-row seat to his first ski races.

Switzerland’s most famous resident came to St. Moritz on Sunday for a world championships doubleheader in marquee downhill races, featuring his friend Lindsey Vonn and home favorite Beat Feuz.

Vonn took a bronze medal she thought worth its weight in gold after an injury-hit year. Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia capped her breakout season to win and set up a duel for the 2018 Olympic downhill title.

The American star then completed her post-race interviews just in time to join Federer and his wife, Mirka, watching in the stands as Feuz raced to become men’s world champion.

Still, the biggest impression left on Federer — who won the Australian Open last month in 104-degree summer temperatures — might have been the below-freezing temperatures.

“I’m finding it cold,” Federer quipped in an interview with the French-language Swiss state broadcaster. “It’s not usual for me, especially sitting here in the cold.”

Federer, who has a mountain home close to nearby Lenzerheide, said he felt lucky seeing both downhills — the first time in 10 years the prestigious races ran back-to-back at worlds. Fog on Saturday had forced the scheduled men’s start to be postponed.

MORE: Alpine Worlds broadcast schedule

British Olympic legends receive knighthoods, damehoods

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) — Andy Murray received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II‘s New Year’s Honors list on Friday, recognition from the monarch for reaching the pinnacle of tennis by winning his second Wimbledon and Olympic titles on his way to topping the rankings.

The 29-year-old Murray was previously named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in 2012 after becoming Olympic champion for the first time.

Joining Murray in being knighted in British sports is Mo Farah, who retained his Olympic 5000m and 10,000m titles in Rio, becoming the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals.

“I’m so happy to be awarded this incredible honor from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight,” Farah said Friday. “Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today — it’s a dream come true.

“I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career.”

Lee Pearson, who won his 11th Paralympic gold in equestrian in Rio, was also knighted. He already held the MBE, OBE and CBE for services to equestrianism and to disabled sport.

Damehoods went to heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and rower Katherine Grainger, who both retired from competitive action following the Rio Olympics.

Ennis-Hill added silver in Rio to her gold at London, as did Grainger, who came out of retirement to compete in the double sculls alongside Vicky Thornley.

Knights are addressed as “Sir” or “Dame.” Recipients of the other honors have no title, but can put the letters after their names. The ranks for the Orders of the British Empire are Commander, Officer and Member, in descending order.

Britain’s honors are bestowed by the monarch, but recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.

MORE: Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian retires