If you need to know exactly how many days there are until the 2014 Sochi Games, you can either log on to NBCOlympics.com or simply ask figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek. Though one of those might be tougher than the other.
“I’m counting the days [to Sochi],” Lysacek told USA Today – and it’s currently 247. “And keep saying there’s not a single day to waste.”
The 2010 champ hasn’t stepped onto the ice for a competition since winning gold in Vancouver, but he said Tuesday in Los Angeles that he’s on schedule to try something no man has accomplished since American Dick Button in 1948 and 1952: win back-to-back Olympic figure skating titles.
“It’s my 11th week back on the ice,” Lysacek explained. “I’m working my way back through program run-throughs and I’m at the point of where I’d be in any season in June. I’m feeling really good. From a physical standpoint I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.”
Lysacek, 28, had planned to return to competition last fall before a groin injury and a sports hernia surgery ended his season before it began. Now, seemingly 100 percent after focusing on conditioning and core strength with coach Frank Carroll, Lysacek has marked October’s Skate America in Detroit as his official return to the sport. Which is 136 days away.
Until then, Lysacek said he’s been working on his quad jump, which “encompasses every element of physical strength,” to match his skills against hockey player turned newly crowned American champ Max Aaron, three-time world champ Patrick Chan, and “Quad King” Javier Fernandez of Spain.
“[The quad is] such a glamorous thing to talk about since it’s such a dangerous trick and it’s taken our sport to a new level, but a clean program is what skating is about,” Lysacek suggested. “My focus is on getting that quad in, but also doing a clean program and not losing any points.”
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.