Simone Biles discusses Martha Karolyi’s team selfie, U.S. teammates, more

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Simone Biles, in the middle of a four-month break from competition, recently flew to New York for the Sullivan Award ceremony, where she sat down with OlympicTalk to answer questions on a range of gymnastics topics.

Biles, the two-time reigning World all-around champion, next expects to compete at the Secret U.S. Classic in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on July 25.

Here are excerpts from the recent interview:

OlympicTalk: You won the Jesolo Trophy in Italy last month, and then you and the team took a selfie with [national team coordinator] Martha Karolyi. How did that happen?

Biles: That morning we took about an hour bus ride to Venice, took a gondola ride and ate lunch. We actually got to get pasta. That never happens. Then, we shopped an hour or two. When we met back up, they [teammates] were like, I wonder if Martha would take a selfie. We had a selfie stick. I was like, I have no problem asking her. She was really happy about it, actually.

OlympicTalk: [First-year senior] Bailie Key finished second to you at Jesolo and may be your biggest competition now. What’s she like?

Biles: Most times, she’s pretty serious, but I have those times where I can joke with her.

OlympicTalk: Aly Raisman said this of you, she “always behaves as though she’s just had about six cups of coffee, even at 3:30 a.m. as we were leaving for the airport. She’s not just energetic in the gym — Simone wakes up at 6 and goes to bed around midnight.” True?

Biles: She says that I’m pretty crazy and hyper, but it’s different because she’s always taking naps. I can’t take naps. I try to fall asleep, and it doesn’t happen. Me and [Jesolo roommate] Maggie Nichols usually tried to go to bed around 10:30 or 11, and then we were always up so early because of the time change. So I don’t really understand how Aly can sleep in so much. She’s like, ‘I’m an old grandma. I need to sleep.’

OlympicTalk: What’s your relationship like with Romanian [World silver medalist] Larisa Iordache?

Biles: When we’re with each other, we like to joke around and talk about our family. We Snapchat each other, but it’s not really cool conversations.

OlympicTalk: What about the Russians?

Biles: We don’t really talk to them. I think some of them are maybe intimidated by us because Martha.

OlympicTalk: Has your hatred for the uneven bars changed at all?

Biles: We’ve worked a lot on that lately and my self-confidence. I don’t think of it as my enemy anymore, because I’m not bad at it.

OlympicTalk: You have an escort when you watch your little sister, Adria, at her meets now. Why?

Biles: I forget who I am sometimes. So I’m like, oh I get to watch my sister compete. Then all these little girls run up to me, and I’m like why are they running up to me? Ohhhhhh. So I sometimes forget [who I am]. So we sometimes have an escort to get me to my seat or get me onto the floor so I don’t bother people, or people don’t bother me.

OlympicTalk: Can you still enjoy watching your sister compete?

Biles: Of course. I can sign [autographs] in between rotations, so I’m always focusing on [Adria].

OlympicTalk: You’re committed to UCLA starting after the Olympics, but could you turn pro and skip college gymnastics?

Biles: So far it’s collegiate gymnastics, but we really haven’t decided on anything.

OlympicTalk: Your margin of victory at the 2014 World Championships was a little smaller than in 2013. Do you feel like the competition is closer?

Biles: I’m not sure. I feel like it has been closer, but I focus on myself out there. I look at my scores sometimes to see if it was a good routine, but other than that I don’t really pay attention.

Nadia Comaneci: Simone Biles’ difficulty is almost equal to men

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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