South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was in back court Tuesday for his first appearance since being granted bail Feb. 22 following the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day. But the hearing was short-lived and quickly postponed, with a new date now set for Aug. 19.
The hearing lasted only 15 minutes while the prosecution asked for the trial to be postponed, and then a court official criticized the “trial by media” that included a recent British TV special during which Steenkamp’s mother, June, brought Pistorius’s character into question and asked for answers about her daughter’s tragic death.
“Why? Why did he shoot her? I want to know why he shot her,” she said. “Because she must have been so afraid in the toilet, and somebody’s firing a gun, bullets through the door.”
Pistorius, 26, admitted to shooting Steenkamp three times through his bathroom door on February 14, but claims he thought she was an intruder, and only after he fired did he considered it might have been Steenkamp. He then called paramedics and carried her downstairs, where she died in his arms.
The defense agreed on the terms of postponement, which weren’t immediately made public. Pistorius has rarely been seen in public since February and has already ruled out competitive running in 2013.
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.