Michael Phelps unhappy after Orlando debut without Bob Bowman

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps is without Bob Bowman at his side at a meet for the first time in many years, but the longtime coach is still watching and critiquing from afar.

Phelps said he texted Bowman “with some frustration” after winning the 100m butterfly in an unsatisfactory time at a Pro Swim Series meet in Orlando on Thursday night.

Bowman is across the country in Federal Way, Wash., coaching the Arizona State men’s team at the Pac-12 Championships. Phelps guessed it’s the first time he’s been at a meet without Bowman since 2007.

On Thursday, Phelps clocked 52.28 seconds in the 100m fly, .07 ahead of countryman Tom Shields. Phelps has been No. 1 and Shields has been No. 2 among Americans in the event in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Phelps, the three-time reigning Olympic 100m butterfly champion, hoped to break 52 seconds. He clocked 51.94 at his last meet in Austin, Texas, in January.

Bowman replied to Phelps’ unhappy text as soon as he climbed out of the pool.

“His response was, the swimming is fine,” Phelps told media in Orlando. “It’s just the small things you need to pay attention to a little bit more. He’s 100 percent right. Some of the butterfly sets that I’ve done [in training] over the last four to five weeks have been really good.”

Phelps said Bowman also communicated with him after the morning preliminaries, saying his 22-time Olympic medalist pupil wasn’t carrying his head correctly in the water.

“I was kind of out of it this morning,” said Phelps, who moved from Baltimore to Arizona to join Bowman in Tempe last year. “I’ve never come west to east for a meet before. So it’s kind of weird. … I hate going 52 [seconds in the 100m butterfly]. I spent a whole year doing it last year [until clocking a world-leading 50.45 at the U.S. Championships on Aug. 8]. It’s just frustrating. … If I would have been under 52, I would have been pumped.

“This race will stick with me until I have another chance to swim it again.”

In other events Thursday, Katie Ledecky captured the 200m freestyle in 1:55.73, distancing 2013 World champion Missy Franklin (1:57.67) and 2012 Olympic champion Allison Schmitt (1:58.18).

The top two at the U.S. Olympic trials on June 29 will make the Olympic team in the event.

“I’ve had some of the best weeks of training I’ve ever had these last couple of weeks,” said Ledecky, who in Austin in January clocked the fastest 200m free time in the world this year, a 1:54.43.

Later, Ledecky finished fourth in the 400m individual medley, 4.13 seconds behind World silver medalist Maya DiRado. Ledecky is not expected to try to qualify for the Olympic team in the 400m IM.

“I always want to get my hand on the wall first, but I know in a race like that, it’s not one of my better races,” Ledecky said. “It’s a tougher task, but I was happy with how my 400m IM went. It’s just good to get out of my comfort zone.”

Full Thursday results are here.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the finals of the last two nights in Orlando live on Friday and Saturday at 6 ET.

MORE: Missy Franklin fueled by frustration heading into Orlando

Taylor Fritz becomes crowd enemy at French Open

Taylor Fritz French Open

The French Open crowd was not happy with American player Taylor Fritz after he beat one of their own — indeed, their last man in the bracket — so they booed and whistle relentlessly. Fritz’s response? He told them to shush. Over and over again.

Fritz, a 25-year-old from California who is seeded No. 9 at Roland Garros, got into a back-and-forth with the fans at Court Suzanne Lenglen after his 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory over 78th-ranked Arthur Rinderknech in the second round on Thursday night.

Rinderknech attempted a lob that landed long on the last point, and Fritz, who had been running toward the baseline to chase the ball, immediately looked up into the stands and pressed his right index finger to his lips to say, essentially, “Hush!”

He held that pose for a bit as he headed back toward the net for a postmatch handshake, then spread his arms wide, wind-milled them a bit as if to egg on the rowdiness, and yelled: “Come on! I want to hear it!”

During the customary winner’s on-court interview that followed, more jeers rained down on Fritz, and 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli kept pausing her attempts to ask a question into her microphone.

So Fritz again said, “Shhhhh!” and put his finger toward his mouth, while Bartoli unsuccessfully tried to get the spectators to lower their decibel level.

More boos. More whistles.

And the awkwardness continued as both Bartoli and a stadium announcer kept saying, “S’il vous plaît” — “Please!” — to no avail, while Fritz stood there with his arms crossed.

A few U.S. supporters with signs and flags drew Fritz’s attention from the front row, and he looked over and said to them, “I love you guys.”

But the interview was still on hold.

Bartoli tried asking a question in English, which only served to draw more boos.

So Fritz told her he couldn’t hear her. Bartoli moved closer and finally got out a query — but it didn’t seem to matter what her words were.

Fritz, who has been featured on the Netflix docuseries about tennis called “Break Point,” had his hands on his hips and a message on his mind — one reminiscent of Daniil Medvedev’s contretemps with fans at the 2019 U.S. Open.

“I came out and the crowd was so great honestly. Like, the crowd was just so great,” Fritz said, as folks tried to drown out his voice. “They cheered so well for me, I wanted to make sure that I won. Thanks, guys.”

And with that, he exited the stage.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

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French Open: Coco Gauff to face younger opponent for first time at a Grand Slam

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff‘s first 49 Grand Slam main draw singles matches were all against older opponents. Her 50th will be against a younger one.

The sixth-seeded Gauff reached the French Open third round by beating 61st-ranked Austrian Julia Grabher 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. Gauff, 19, next plays 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the round of 32 on Saturday.

“I don’t see age as a factor,” said Gauff, who has practiced with Andreeva. “When you step on the court, you just see your opponent, and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

Gauff made her major debut at age 15 in 2019 by beating Venus Williams at Wimbledon. In her 15 majors, Gauff has usually been the youngest male or female singles player, including most recently at 2022 Wimbledon. She is still the lone teenager in the WTA top 49.

But that may soon change. Youngsters from the Czech Republic and Russia are on the rise. Such as Andreeva, who, at No. 143 in the world and climbing, is the highest-ranked player under the age of 18. And she doesn’t turn 17 until next April. Andreeva dropped just six games in her first two matches, fewest of any woman.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

But Gauff is still in a class of her own among her generation, having at last year’s French Open become the youngest major finalist since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17. She somehow flew somewhat under the radar into Paris this year with a 4-4 record this spring and in between full-time coaches.

She has now won back-to-back matches for the first time since March, rallying past 71st-ranked Spaniard Rebeka Masarova in the first round and then dispatching an error-prone Grabher, a runner-up at a low-level clay event last week.

The other three seeds in Gauff’s section have all lost, so she would not play a seed until the quarterfinals. And that would be No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who has won all 12 sets they’ve played, including in last year’s French Open final.

“I lost that final, and like for like a week or two, I really thought it was the worst thing ever,” Gauff said. “There’s no point in me revisiting last year. It’s in the past. It was a great tournament, but I’m looking forward for more this week.”

While the men’s draw has been upended by 14-time champion Rafael Nadal‘s pre-event withdrawal and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev‘s loss in the first round, the top women have taken care of business.

The top four seeds — Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, American Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan — all reached the third round without dropping a set.

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