Justin Gatlin can’t win IAAF Athlete of the Year

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U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin is not eligible to win this year’s IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award due to a rule change, according to Reuters, after Gatlin was scrutinized for being a candidate for the honor last year, four years removed from a four-year doping ban.

The IAAF athlete commission recommended and the IAAF council approved that an athlete with a serious doping offense is ineligible for the award starting this year, according to the report.

“Several Council Members expressed concern that the IAAF could encounter legal challenges if the Athletes’ Commission’s recommendation that no athlete who has been sanctioned for a serious doping offense should be shortlisted for the Athlete of the Year award was approved,” according to minutes from a November IAAF council meeting, Reuters reported. “However, the majority of Council Members who took the floor supported this recommendation because it enhanced the credibility of the sport, it protected the rights of clean athletes and it assisted in further establishing inappropriate behavior in the sport that would not be honored by the IAAF in the future.”

Gatlin is undefeated since the start of 2014 and was one of 10 candidates for last year’s IAAF World Men’s Athlete of the Year Award but, after public backlash from Seb Coe and fellow candidate Robert Harting, was not among the three finalists.

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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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