Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin running faster than ever … in practice

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Justin Gatlin has his sights set on the American record in the 100m this season. If he takes the mark away from Tyson Gay, Gatlin will have run faster than anybody in the world since the 2012 Olympics.

Gatlin made his ambition known in an interview with his hometown newspaper, the Pensacola (Fla.) News-Journal.

“This is the best offseason training program I have had in my whole career,” he said. “I am actually running better times in practice than I have ever run before. I feel stronger. I have worked on different techniques.

“I am going to make the last 20 meters a stronger finish. Hopefully, I will go out there and get the American record.”

Gatlin had an excellent 2013 season, beating Usain Bolt in Rome on June 6 and taking silver behind the Jamaican world record holder at the World Championships in Moscow on Aug. 11.

He is 32 years old, five years older than Bolt, and in the second half of his career after sitting out four years (and the 2008 Olympics) due to a doping suspension.

The 2004 Olympic 100m champion said he hopes to compete at the 2016 Olympics. He would be the oldest men’s 100m Olympic medalist by two years if he makes the podium in Rio de Janeiro.

And that might not be the end of his career.

“I have a dream that I even went to Tokyo, which is 2020 [Olympics], so we’ll see what happens,” Gatlin told the newspaper. “The best thing for me to do as a seasoned veteran is to stay healthy, stay strong, keep pushing myself every year.”

Gatlin will not be competing at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, beginning March 7.

That leaves the biggest potential events for Gatlin this year as the USA Outdoor National Championships in Sacramento, Calif., from June 26-29 and Diamond League meets starting in May.

Gatlin and Bolt may not race much this season, if at all, given they do not enter all Diamond League meets. Gay’s status for 2014 is up in the air as he awaits his doping discipline from last year’s failed drug tests.

Another Jamaican, Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake, is expected to return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him from the 2013 World Championships.

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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