Hall of Famer Rick Pitino will coach Puerto Rico’s men’s basketball team as it hopes to qualify for its first Olympics since 2004.
Pitino, 62 and the current Louisville coach, will guide the Puerto Ricans at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July and, more importantly for Olympic qualification, at FIBA Americas in Monterrey, Mexico, in August and September.
At Athens 2004, Puerto Rico crushed the U.S. 92-73 in the Americans’ most lopsided loss in Olympic or World Championships history. Puerto Rico, which has never won an Olympic basketball medal, ended up losing in the quarterfinals.
Two Olympic berths are available at FIBA Americas this summer. The U.S. is already qualified, and Brazil is likely to be given a spot in the Rio 2016 tournament as host nation, so Puerto Rico shouldn’t have to worry about either of those nations.
Instead, it should be fighting for an Olympic spot with 2004 Olympic champion Argentina, upstart Canada, the Dominican Republic (with Al Horford, potentially) and host Mexico.
Puerto Rico could field a roster including players with NBA experience, namely J.J.Barea, Renaldo Balkman, Daniel Santiago and Carlos Arroyo.
If it doesn’t finish in the top two at FIBA Americas, Puerto Rico could get another chance to make it to Rio via a last-chance global qualifying tournament in 2016.
No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland is favored to claim a third French Open title, a year after beating American Coco Gauff in the final. She bids to join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win the French Open three or more times since 2000.
Two Americans are ranked in the top six in the world — No. 3 Jessica Pegula and Gauff.
The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.