Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps eyes changes entering busy Charlotte meet

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Michael Phelps‘ fiancée recently asked him if their impending move from his native Baltimore to Arizona was “really a big deal.”

“No, not really,” Phelps responded.

Phelps, who is slated to swim six events at a Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte starting Friday, will later move across the country with longtime coach Bob Bowman, who accepted the Arizona State swimming coaching job.

“I’m somebody who loves changes,” Phelps said in a press conference Thursday. “If we do the same thing in training month after month, I get sick of it. … This is a brand-new change. Myself, my fiancée, we’re looking forward to it. … I’m not nervous about it.”

Phelps joked the biggest difficulty may be not having an indoor pool to swim in if it gets too hot.

“I’ll say the toughest thing is, sort of, at home [in Baltimore], I was able to sort of get on a level where everything around me was so comfortable,” Phelps said. “I was in my own element. I had this and that. I was completely settled. I think that will be a very difficult thing, resettling.”

He’s been through this before, moving with Bowman to the University of Michigan following the Athens 2004 Olympics.

“I know what I’m getting into, versus Ann Arbor was a completely new world when I started collegiate coaching,” said Bowman, adding that he had more input in this coaching switch than with Michigan. “It’s a little more tailor-made for what everyone needs and I need.”

Phelps will challenge himself in Charlotte by swimming a 200m butterfly for the first time since the 2012 Olympics (Phelps is not expected to make it part of his regular program going toward Rio 2016). He added it partly to ensure he had two events on each day of the meet and partly to put himself on the line and “make it not as comfortable.”

And he said he will approach preliminary races differently in Charlotte. Phelps wants to ensure he will not only make finals but also receive a preferred middle lane.

“I’m not 15 or 18 anymore, where I can just sort of coast through in the morning,” Phelps, 29, said.

Phelps also reflected on the financial aspect of swimming in domestic meets. He recalled another swimmer asking after a race if his result would merit receiving “grant money.”

“I’m like, dude, if that’s what you’re worried about, then your mind is in the wrong direction,” Phelps said. “If you take care of what you have to in the pool, everything else comes.”

Bowman and Phelps joked of how money and prizes were not of the utmost concern early in his career.

“He knew he could buy some spinners for his car,” said Bowman, surely referencing Phelps’ Cadillac Escalade that his mother allowed him to buy after he signed his first endorsement deal as a 16-year-old (more on that story here).

“My mom was like, oh, you broke a world record, you can buy a couch for your room,” Phelps said. “Gee, thanks, mom.”

Universal Sports will have coverage of the Charlotte meet on Saturday and Sunday at 6 ET both nights.

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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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, results

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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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