Caroline Wozniacki wins appeal to participate in Rio Games

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LONDON (AP) — Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won her appeal Thursday for a spot in the tennis tournament at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, while 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal‘s status is still up in the air.

On the provisional Olympic entry list released by the International Tennis Federation, 2008 gold medalist Nadal’s participation is contingent on either making himself available for Spain’s Davis Cup matches in July or an ITF Olympic Committee appeal.

Nadal has been dealing with an injured left wrist that forced him to withdraw from the French Open before the third round and pull out of Wimbledon altogether.

Wozniacki already has been picked as Denmark’s flag-bearer for the Summer Games, but needed to appeal for a berth in the event, saying injuries prevented her from meeting the Fed Cup requirements.

She tweeted a photo of herself wearing a red top and standing on a red clay court, racket in hand, and wrote: “It’s been a long wait BUT I am officially going to Rio!! … rocking the Danish colors on court!!”

Wozniacki was ranked No. 1 for 67 weeks in 2010 and 2011, and she was the runner-up at the 2009 and 2014 U.S. Opens. She’s had a rough season, though, including a first-round loss at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The top three men’s players in the world – No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, 2012 gold medalist Andy Murray of Britain, and 2012 silver medalist Roger Federer of Switzerland – are all in the field for Rio, where the tennis competition begins on Aug. 6, the day after the opening ceremony. There are 64-player fields in singles, with a maximum of four per gender per country, and 32-team fields in doubles.

The tournament will be played on hard courts. The draws are Aug. 4.

Djokovic won the Australian Open in January, and the French Open in June, and so far is into the third round at Wimbledon. Should he wind up winning the title at the All England Club, he could head to Brazil with his bid intact to become the first man in history to complete a Golden Slam: collecting all four major championships plus a singles gold medal in the same year.

As expected, the U.S. tennis team is led by past gold medalists Serena and Venus Williams, who will both play singles and team up in doubles. The other women set to play singles for the United States are Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens, while CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands are in the doubles tournament.

The American men on the provisional list for singles include 589th-ranked Brian Baker, along with No. 27 Jack Sock, No. 29 Steve Johnson and No. 66 Denis Kudla. All four are, like Nadal, listed as having their participation contingent on either Davis Cup participation or a successful appeal.

Among the notable names on the ITF list Thursday are International Tennis Hall of Fame member Martina Hingis, who is slated to play doubles with Belinda Bencic for Switzerland and could play mixed doubles with 17-time major champion Federer.

Players already participating in singles or doubles in Rio can be nominated by their national Olympic committee for the 16-team mixed doubles event by the Aug. 9 deadline, with no more than two pairs per country.

MORE: Venus, Serena Wiliams lead U.S. Olympic tennis team

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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