Refreshed Michael Phelps remembers frustration in return to Austin

Michael Phelps
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The new, open, revitalized Michael Phelps felt a little frustrated warming up at the University of Texas pool on Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s Pro Swim Series meet in Austin.

“I remember those feelings that I had last year,” Phelps said.

In January 2015, Phelps was on the pool deck in Austin. But he wasn’t part of any races.

The 22-time Olympic medalist was in the middle of a six-month suspension following his Sept. 30, 2014, DUI arrest. He had spent 45 days in an Arizona treatment facility the previous fall and was one month removed from pleading guilty to drunken driving in a Baltimore court.

So why did he travel to Austin when he wasn’t allowed to compete?

“So I could, train, really, be back in the meet environment,” Phelps told media in Austin on Thursday, before looking to his right at longtime coach Bob Bowman. “I don’t know if he [Bowman] had some other little secret.”

“Apparently is was motivational on some levels,” Bowman said, turning to Phelps and eliciting laughs at a news conference.

“I don’t think I needed much more motivation,” Phelps replied.

The picture of the suspended Phelps standing on the Austin deck last year and watching the 200m freestyle, standing right behind U.S. national team director Frank Busch, hasn’t left the swimmer.

Phelps knew then that he wouldn’t be joining Busch and his teammates at the World Championships at the end of the season, either.

“Didn’t really know what to expect at the end of the year after seeing where we were at that point,” Phelps said Thursday. “It frustrated me not being able to be there and knowing that I wasn’t going to be there at the end of the year to help out as much as I could.”

This week, Phelps returned to Austin, where he broke his first world record in 2001, as arguably the best swimmer in the world.

In August, Phelps clocked the fastest times since 2009 in the 100m and 200m butterfly and the best of the year in the 200m individual medley.

He’s entered in those three events plus the 100m and 200m freestyles in the Austin meet from Friday through Sunday.

Finals are at 7 ET each night. will live stream all sessions, while NBC Sports Live Extra will live stream Saturday and Sunday’s finals.

Phelps is expected to swim the 100m and 200m butterfly and the 200m IM at the Olympic trials in June and July and perhaps also the 100m and 200m freestyles, at the very least to prove he belongs on the Olympic 4x100m and 4x200m free relays. That would give him six events at the Rio 2016 Olympics, including the 4x100m medley relay.

Bowman said Phelps has the potential at his final meet in Rio to break his 100m and 200m butterfly world records from 2009 and approach Ryan Lochte‘s 200m IM world record, according to The Associated Press.

Austin comes first.

“I’m a hell of a lot happier being here and being able to swim,” said Phelps, who shares the spotlight with the rest of U.S. swimming’s Big Four — Katie LedeckyMissy Franklin and Lochte — this weekend. “Last year I came here and was swimming in the diving well and swimming in the competition pool in between sessions, and standing and watching swimming when I want to be in isn’t fun.”

MORE SWIMMING: Phelps to coach in retirement

2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

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

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek set French Open rematch

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff swept into the French Open quarterfinals, where she plays Iga Swiatek in a rematch of last year’s final.

Gauff, the sixth seed, beat 100th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round. She next plays the top seed Swiatek, who later Monday advanced after 66th-ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko retired down 5-1 after taking a medical timeout due to illness.

Gauff earned a 37th consecutive win over a player ranked outside the top 50, dating to February 2022. She hasn’t faced a player in the world top 60 in four matches at Roland Garros, but the degree of difficulty ratchets up in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Swiatek won all 12 sets she’s played against Gauff, who at 19 is the only teenager in the top 49 in the world. Gauff said last week that there’s no point in revisiting last year’s final — a 6-1, 6-3 affair — but said Monday that she should rewatch that match because they haven’t met on clay since.

“I don’t want to make the final my biggest accomplishment,” she said. “Since last year I have been wanting to play her, especially at this tournament. I figured that it was going to happen, because I figured I was going to do well, and she was going to do well.

“The way my career has gone so far, if I see a level, and if I’m not quite there at that level, I know I have to improve, and I feel like you don’t really know what you have to improve on until you see that level.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Also Monday, No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia dispatched 36th-ranked American Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-1, breaking all eight of Pera’s service games.

Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, has now reached the quarterfinals of all four majors.

Jabeur next faces 14th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, who won 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5 over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, who played on a protected ranking of 68. Haddad Maia became the second Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open Era (since 1968) after Maria Bueno, who won seven majors from 1959-1966.

Pera, a 28 year-old born in Croatia, was the oldest U.S. singles player to make the fourth round of a major for the first time since Jill Craybas at 2005 Wimbledon. Her defeat left Gauff as the lone American singles player remaining out of the 35 entered in the main draws.

The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.

In the men’s draw, 2022 French Open runner-up Casper Ruud reached the quarterfinals by beating 35th-ranked Chilean Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5. He’ll next play sixth seed Holger Rune of Denmark, a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7) winner over 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

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