Leave it to the Americans to show up Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans early in the season:
After London fourth place finisher Tyson Gay sprinted to a world’s best 100m time of 9.86-seconds at the Kingston Invite last weekend, where he was a replacement for Bolt who pulled out of the race with a hamstring strain, Athens 100m champ Justin Gatlin ran 9.97-seconds to win the Diamond League meet in Doha despite suffering from an illness or two.
“I was feeling under the weather coming into the competition,” Gatlin told the AP. “I had a fever, found out I had a sinus infection. I still wanted to come here and thought I would be ready. I was ready at the last second.”
Meanwhile, Bolt opened his season with a 10.09 at the Cayman last week, his slowest finals time on the senior circuit, but had enough in the tank to edge out compatriot Kemar Bailey-Cole in a photo finish. Of course, as self-described “seasoned vet,” Gatlin, knows better than to put much stock in his time.
“It is going to be a long season,” Gatlin said. “It is about the person who can pace themselves who can have those fast times crossing the finish line at the finals.”
And for the last five years, that person has been from Jamaica.
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.