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


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

Coco Gauff rallies past 16-year-old at French Open

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff rallied to defeat 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the French Open third round in Gauff’s first Grand Slam singles match against a younger opponent.

The sixth seed Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up, outlasted Andreeva 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 to reach the fourth round, where she plays 100th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

“[Andreeva] is super young, so she has a lot to look forward to,” Gauff, 19, said on Tennis Channel. “I’m sure we’re going to have many more battles in the future. … I remember when I was 16. I didn’t care who I was playing against, and she has that kind of game and mentality, too.”

Gauff could play top seed and defending champ Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals. Swiatek on Saturday thumped 80th-ranked Wang Xinyu of China 6-0, 6-0, winning 50 of the 67 points in a 51-minute match.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

This week, Andreeva became the youngest player to win a French Open main draw match since 2005 (when 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria made the quarterfinals). She was bidding to become the youngest to make the last 16 of any major since Gauff’s breakout as a 15-year-old.

The American made it that far at 2019 Wimbledon (beating Venus Williams in her Grand Slam main draw debut) and the 2020 Australian Open (beating defending champion Naomi Osaka) before turning 16. At last year’s French Open, Gauff became the youngest player to make a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova won 2004 Wimbledon at 17.

This was only Gauff’s third match against a younger player dating to her tour debut in 2019. It took Gauff 50 Grand Slam matches to finally face a younger player on this stage, a testament to how ahead of the curve she was (and still is).

While Gauff is the only teenager ranked in the top 49 in the world, Andreeva is the highest-ranked player under the age of 18 at No. 143 (and around No. 100 after the French). And she doesn’t turn 17 until next April. Andreeva dropped just six games in her first two matches at this French Open, fewest of any woman.

Gauff is the last seeded American woman left in the draw after No. 3 Jessica Pegula, No. 20 Madison Keys and No. 32 Shelby Rogers previously lost.

Gauff is joined in the fourth round by countrywomen Sloane Stephens (2017 U.S. Open champion ranked 30th) and 36th-ranked Bernarda Pera (at 28, the oldest U.S. singles player to reach the last 16 of a Slam for the first time since Jill Craybas at 2005 Wimbledon).

The last U.S. woman to win a major title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major span without an American champ is the longest for U.S. women since Monica Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw