Michael Phelps back in the pool; Phelps, Ledecky win Golden Goggles

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps has returned to the pool and is working toward goals for next year, an official from his training base said in accepting Phelps’ Male Athlete of the Year award at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggles on Monday night.

Phelps, who was suspended six months by USA Swimming after his Sept. 30 DUI arrest, was not in attendance at the New York event.

Keenan Robinson, director of athlete services at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, accepted on Phelps’ behalf and provided an update on the swimmer.

“Michael is in Baltimore, happily back in the pool, working toward his goals for next year,” Robinson said.

On Oct. 5, it was posted on Phelps’ social media that he was stepping away to get “the help I need.” It was later reported that was referring to a six-week program.

Phelps will not swim at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, next summer.

Phelps came out of 20-month competitive retirement this year and won three gold medals and two silvers at the biggest meet of 2014, the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia in August.

He was the only U.S. men’s swimmer to finish the season with the top time in the world in an Olympic event.

Katie Ledecky won Female Athlete of the Year after breaking world records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles this year. She also swept the events and won the 200m free at the Pan Pacific Championships.

Ledecky also won the Female Race of the Year award for her 1500m free victory and world record at Pan Pacs.

Ledecky was also part of the Relay of the Year winner, for the 4x200m free relay at Pan Pacs. Ledecky swam anchor, entered the pool with a deficit and powered to a 1.37-second U.S. win.

In accepting the award with the team, Missy Franklin said the man handing the medals to the women at Pan Pacs proposed to Ledecky.

“Very concerned, Katie said, ‘I’m only 17,'” said Franklin, on the relay with Ledecky, Leah Smith and Shannon Vreeland.

Ledecky’s coach, Bruce Gemmell, won Coach of the Year.

Connor Jaeger won Male Race of the Year for his 1500m free victory at Pan Pacs. Jaeger, 23, took his first career gold medal at a major international meet (Olympics, World Championships or Pan Pacs) and the U.S.’ first gold in the event at a major international meet in 30 years.

Maya DiRado earned Breakout Performer of the Year for bagging her first individual medals at a major international meet. The former Stanford swimmer took gold in the 200m individual medley and 400m IM at Pan Pacs.

Open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Andrew Gemmell won the Perseverance Award. Anderson and Gemmell won the Pan Pacs 10km titles after their events were moved from Australia to Hawaii.

Ryan Lochte and other top U.S. swimmers (but not Ledecky, Franklin or the suspended Phelps) will next compete at the World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar, from Dec. 3-7. The meet is done in a 25m pool rather than the Olympic-size 50m.

Missy Franklin takes measures to keep back spasms in the past

Taylor Fritz becomes crowd enemy at French Open

Taylor Fritz French Open

The French Open crowd was not happy with American player Taylor Fritz after he beat one of their own — indeed, their last man in the bracket — so they booed and whistle relentlessly. Fritz’s response? He told them to shush. Over and over again.

Fritz, a 25-year-old from California who is seeded No. 9 at Roland Garros, got into a back-and-forth with the fans at Court Suzanne Lenglen after his 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory over 78th-ranked Arthur Rinderknech in the second round on Thursday night.

Rinderknech attempted a lob that landed long on the last point, and Fritz, who had been running toward the baseline to chase the ball, immediately looked up into the stands and pressed his right index finger to his lips to say, essentially, “Hush!”

He held that pose for a bit as he headed back toward the net for a postmatch handshake, then spread his arms wide, wind-milled them a bit as if to egg on the rowdiness, and yelled: “Come on! I want to hear it!”

During the customary winner’s on-court interview that followed, more jeers rained down on Fritz, and 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli kept pausing her attempts to ask a question into her microphone.

So Fritz again said, “Shhhhh!” and put his finger toward his mouth, while Bartoli unsuccessfully tried to get the spectators to lower their decibel level.

More boos. More whistles.

And the awkwardness continued as both Bartoli and a stadium announcer kept saying, “S’il vous plaît” — “Please!” — to no avail, while Fritz stood there with his arms crossed.

A few U.S. supporters with signs and flags drew Fritz’s attention from the front row, and he looked over and said to them, “I love you guys.”

But the interview was still on hold.

Bartoli tried asking a question in English, which only served to draw more boos.

So Fritz told her he couldn’t hear her. Bartoli moved closer and finally got out a query — but it didn’t seem to matter what her words were.

Fritz, who has been featured on the Netflix docuseries about tennis called “Break Point,” had his hands on his hips and a message on his mind — one reminiscent of Daniil Medvedev’s contretemps with fans at the 2019 U.S. Open.

“I came out and the crowd was so great honestly. Like, the crowd was just so great,” Fritz said, as folks tried to drown out his voice. “They cheered so well for me, I wanted to make sure that I won. Thanks, guys.”

And with that, he exited the stage.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

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French Open: Coco Gauff to face younger opponent for first time at a Grand Slam

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff‘s first 49 Grand Slam main draw singles matches were all against older opponents. Her 50th will be against a younger one.

The sixth-seeded Gauff reached the French Open third round by beating 61st-ranked Austrian Julia Grabher 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. Gauff, 19, next plays 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the round of 32 on Saturday.

“I don’t see age as a factor,” said Gauff, who has practiced with Andreeva. “When you step on the court, you just see your opponent, and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

Gauff made her major debut at age 15 in 2019 by beating Venus Williams at Wimbledon. In her 15 majors, Gauff has usually been the youngest male or female singles player, including most recently at 2022 Wimbledon. She is still the lone teenager in the WTA top 49.

But that may soon change. Youngsters from the Czech Republic and Russia are on the rise. Such as Andreeva, who, at No. 143 in the world and climbing, is the highest-ranked player under the age of 18. And she doesn’t turn 17 until next April. Andreeva dropped just six games in her first two matches, fewest of any woman.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

But Gauff is still in a class of her own among her generation, having at last year’s French Open become the youngest major finalist since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17. She somehow flew somewhat under the radar into Paris this year with a 4-4 record this spring and in between full-time coaches.

She has now won back-to-back matches for the first time since March, rallying past 71st-ranked Spaniard Rebeka Masarova in the first round and then dispatching an error-prone Grabher, a runner-up at a low-level clay event last week.

The other three seeds in Gauff’s section have all lost, so she would not play a seed until the quarterfinals. And that would be No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who has won all 12 sets they’ve played, including in last year’s French Open final.

“I lost that final, and like for like a week or two, I really thought it was the worst thing ever,” Gauff said. “There’s no point in me revisiting last year. It’s in the past. It was a great tournament, but I’m looking forward for more this week.”

While the men’s draw has been upended by 14-time champion Rafael Nadal‘s pre-event withdrawal and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev‘s loss in the first round, the top women have taken care of business.

The top four seeds — Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, American Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan — all reached the third round without dropping a set.

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