American soccer stars Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan have both been nominated for the FIFA player of the year after dominating performances that led to America’s third straight Olympic gold medal.
The two women are aiming to be the first American to take the award since Mia Hamm won back in 2002. Wambach and Morgan combined for 50 international goals this year and led the world’s best team to an undefeated 13-0-2 record this season.
Also on the list is Brazil’s Marta, who has been nominated every year since 2005 and won the award five consecutive times. America’s former coach Pia Sundhage, who now leads the national team in her native Sweden, was nominated for coach of the year.
“What a tremendous honor for all of us,” Wambach said. “And even more so to be recognized with Alex, someone who compliments me in almost every way on the field.”
Noticeably absent from the nominees is Canada’s Christine Sinclair, who scored an Olympic record six goals, including three in an devastating extra-time semi-final loss to the U.S., but was suspended by FIFA for comments made to and about the referees after the game.
“It’s a travesty,” Canadian coach John Herdman told the National Post. “A player who can score a hat trick in a semi-final and lead her country to the first medal since 1936, the first time Canada’s ever been on a [soccer] podium at one of these events.. and she can’t get in the top three.”
“There’s something wrong somewhere. But… you don’t want to be pointing fingers at people. It is what it is.”
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.
No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the top hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.