Missy Franklin fueled by frustration going into Orlando meet

Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin‘s last swim meet didn’t go as she hoped in Austin in January — zero wins and slower times in three of her four events than at the same meet four years ago.

“I definitely don’t want to come off as everything’s happy all the time,” Franklin said Wednesday ahead of an Orlando meet that runs from Thursday through Saturday. “When I come back from some of these meets, I am for sure frustrated. Austin was a perfect example.”

In Austin, Franklin was slower than her January 2012 times in the 100m freestyle (by .32), 100m backstroke (by .11) and 200m back (by 1.03 seconds). She was faster in the 200m free by .37, though four years ago she was busier in Austin, swimming seven total events versus four this year.

“I had been training so hard and been doing so well in practice and left [Austin in January] being really frustrated,” Franklin said. “Why is this not coming through? Why is this not being shown in what I’m racing? I think it’s important to let yourself feel like that because if you do push those feelings aside and pretend like they’re not there, they’re all going to come back and hit you at a time when you don’t want them to. So I let myself be frustrated. I let myself feel that, and I use that to fuel me.”

Franklin earned four gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and six at the 2013 World Championships, but at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships (where she was slowed by back spasms) and the 2015 World Championships she earned zero individual gold medals.

From June through October, she entered six meets and won zero individual events.

Though she was pleased ending the winless drought at a Minneapolis meet in November, she remains an underdog in her four individual events with the Olympics five months away.

Australian Emily Seebohm swept the backstrokes at the World Championships in August.

Katie Ledecky added the 200m freestyle title to her growing collection, and Australian sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell and Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström are tops in the 100m free, the weakest of Franklin’s quartet.

Of those rivals, only Ledecky and Sjöström raced in Austin and only Ledecky is racing in Orlando the next three days.

Franklin did not compete at the equivalent of this weekend’s meet four years ago, so it could be tougher to gauge where she’s at.

In Orlando, NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the Friday and Saturday finals live at 6 p.m. ET. USASwimming.org will have a live webcast of the entire meet, which starts Thursday.

MORE: Missy Franklin co-authors book

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz set French Open semifinal showdown


Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play in the French Open semifinals on Friday in the most anticipated match of the tournament.

Each man advanced with a quarterfinal win on Tuesday.

Djokovic, eyeing a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam men’s singles title, rallied past 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4. The Serb reached his 45th career major semifinal, one shy of Roger Federer‘s men’s record.

Later Tuesday, top seed Alcaraz crushed fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (5) to consolidate his status as the favorite in Friday’s showdown.

“This match, everyone wants to watch,” Alcaraz said. “I really wanted to play this match as well. I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Alcaraz, who at last year’s U.S. Open became the first male teen to win a major since Rafael Nadal in 2005, is at this event the youngest man to be the top seed at a major since Boris Becker at 1987 Wimbledon.

The Djokovic-Alcaraz semifinal will produce the clear favorite for Sunday’s final given left-handed 14-time French Open champion Nadal is out this year with a hip injury and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev lost in the first round. Djokovic and Nadal share the record 22 men’s major titles.

Djokovic and Alcaraz met once, with Alcaraz winning last year on clay in Madrid 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).

“[Alcaraz] brings a lot of intensity on the court,” Djokovic said, before breaking into a smile. “Reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand.”

Alcaraz and Djokovic were set to be on opposite halves of the draw — and thus not able to meet until the final — until Medvedev won the last top-level clay event before the French Open to move ahead of Djokovic in the rankings. That meant Djokovic had a 50 percent chance to wind up in Alcaraz’s half, and that’s what the random draw spit out two weeks ago.

Earlier Tuesday in the first two women’s quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova advanced to face off in Thursday’s semifinals.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, swept Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 to complete her set of semifinals in all four Grand Slams. Sabalenka will take the No. 1 ranking from Iga Swiatek if Swiatek loses before the final, or if Sabalenka makes the final and Swiatek does not win the title.

Svitolina, a former world No. 3, returned to competition in April from childbirth.

Muchova took out 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-2, to make her second major semifinal after the 2021 Australian Open.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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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 meet in Friday’s 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