Fourteen IOC officials are starting their three city tour this week, which will take them from Tokyo to Madrid to Istanbul as they evaluate each city vying to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The evaluation committee, headed by IOC Vice President Craig Reedie of Britain, will assess each potential host, meet with city and Olympic officials, and inspect possible issues with finances, accommodations, transportation, and security before they create reports they’ll submit to all the IOC members before a vote on September 7.
“The interesting thing about this one is that all three have been candidates before on a number of occasions,” Reedie explained to the AP on Thursday. Istanbul is back for its fifth bid, Madrid is on its third bid in a row, and Tokyo, which hosted in 1964, is bidding for a second consecutive time.
Given the current world economic climate, finances are likely to play a big role in determining which country is best suited to host the Games. Istanbul brings a $19.2 billion budget towards necessary infrastructure, but has a lot to build. While Tokyo has only $4.9 billion budgeted, and Madrid, which is in a deep recession and has a 25 percent unemployment rate, has just $1.9 billion set aside.
Reedie added that the visit by the evaluation committee is often the most important part of the bidding process, and was paramount in the IOC’s decision to award London its third Olympics in 2012.
“It was a seminal moment in terms of encouraging a slightly skeptical British media that this was serious and this was good. If we can do that in Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, we serve the Olympic movement and the ambitions of these cities.”
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 most recent match with a right thigh injury last week 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, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes 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, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.