Roger Federer, Martina Hingis
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Roger Federer: Olympic individual gold not top goal; Martina Hingis asked about Rio mixed doubles

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NEW YORK — Roger Federer has said his “big goal” is to win Wimbledon for an eighth time and, “in a dream world,” become No. 1 again.

Where does that leave the biggest individual title missing from his trophy case — an Olympic gold medal?

“It’s not my No. 1 goal, or my No. 2 goal,” Federer said after losing an exhibition to Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov at the BNP Paribas Showdown in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. “It’s just something I’ve said, maybe I can reach that tournament and then see how it goes.”

Federer will turn 35 years old on the first Monday of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

He couldn’t compare Grand Slam tournaments (of which he has won 17) to the Olympics (where he captured a doubles gold, singles silver and carried the Swiss flag in the Opening Ceremony twice over four appearances).

“It’s so separate to everything else,” Federer said. “If you ask me Grand Slam or Olympics or this or that, I don’t know.

“I can tell you a story about Sydney [2000], Athens [2004], Beijing [2008], London [2012], and each one of them, to me, was an eye-opener.”

Rio could be special, too. Martina Hingis, the greatest Swiss women’s player of all time, is set to be eligible to return to the Olympics for the first time since 1996.

Federer and Hingis, 34, could play mixed doubles in Rio. Mixed doubles rejoined the Olympic program for 2012 for the first time since 1924, and the Swiss duo discussed playing together in London but opted against it.

“She has approached me [for 2016], and I said I’d give it some thought,” Federer said Tuesday. “The problem is, I don’t know how I play singles, doubles, mixed [doubles] within an eight-day period [at the Olympics]. To try to win them all, it’s like 15 matches in eight days [15 in nine days in London 2012; the Rio schedule hasn’t been announced, but it would take 15 matches]. You tell me how that works. I don’t [know]. I have to figure out things and what my priority is at the end of the day.”

Federer must also figure out his Davis Cup status, as International Tennis Federation rules dictate playing at least once for one’s country in the team event in either 2015 or 2016. Federer is sitting out Davis Cup in 2015 and would not comment on 2016 when asked Tuesday.

Federer and Hingis’ Olympic careers haven’t overlapped yet.

Hingis, then 15, was the second-youngest singles player at the Atlanta 1996 Games, behind Anna Kournikova, and lost in the second round.

She then won five Grand Slam singles titles, skipped the Sydney 2000 Olympics to avoid injury risk, was retired during the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and not playing WTA Tour events in 2012.

Federer and Hingis played together and won at the 2001 Hopman Cup, a team indoor event in Australia.

“She was, I guess, some say a hero of mine, seeing her on the tour, basically when I was still not knowing what I was doing on the tennis court,” Federer said. “She was already winning Wimbledon and all of those things. It was unbelievable to watch. I’ll obviously give it [mixed doubles in Rio] some thought because I have a lot of respect for her.”

Federer’s Olympic debut came at Sydney 2000, three years before he bagged the first of those record 17 Grand Slam singles titles. He recalled those Games while pacing the Madison Square Garden hallways late Tuesday night.

Federer expressed disappointment in not being able to play doubles in Sydney with Marc Rosset, the 1992 Olympic singles champion and most decorated Swiss player before Hingis came along.

Rosset, then 29, pulled out of the Sydney Games, reportedly due to “extreme physical and mental exhaustion” and after a deadline to add a replacement.

“[Doubles] was going to be my highlight,” Federer said. “Marc was like the older brother for me.”

In singles, the unseeded Federer’s draw opened up. He reached the semifinals without having to beat top seeds in his section Marat Safin, Tim Henman and Michael Chang.

But Federer lost in two matches with a medal at stake, to German Tommy Haas in the semifinals and then France’s Arnaud Di Pasquale in the bronze-medal match.

“Probably the most disappointed I’ve ever been in my tennis life,” Federer said Tuesday, coming toward a stop in a Madison Square Garden hall. “I couldn’t believe how close I was to the medal. At the end I left with nothing.”

Not exactly.

Federer, as Switzerland’s only Olympic men’s tennis player in 2000, spent much of his time with the two Swiss women’s players in Sydney — Emmanuelle Gagliardi and Mirka Vavrinec. Federer kissed Vavrinec on the final day of the Sydney Games. They are now married with two sets of twins.

“Overall it was probably the most unbelievable Olympics I ever had,” Federer said.

Photos: Lindsey Vonn, Roger Federer play tennis in the Alps

*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the mixed doubles debuted at the Olympics in 2012.

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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