Matt Grevers: ‘There’s no room for me’

Matt Grevers
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Matt Grevers was usually overshadowed on the powerful U.S. swimming team, coming along in an era that also included Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

Grevers still managed to make quite a mark.

After winning four golds and six medals overall at the last two Olympics, Grevers sounded as if his career was over Thursday, just minutes after competing in the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. swimming trials.

Even though he qualified for the evening semifinals, Grevers scratched from the event and has no plans to compete in his remaining race, the 50 freestyle, knowing he wasn’t a contender to make the Olympic team in either.

“I feel like the future of backstroke is in great hands,” Grevers said. “There’s no room for me.”

The 31-year-old chuckled a bit, but he was clearly in a reflective mood as he exited pool for what might have been the final time, at least as a top-level competitor.

“Nothing is set in stone,” Grevers said. “I really love this sport. I’m going to be around it the rest of my life. I’m just not positive if I’m going to be as competitive as I once was.”

He was hoping to swim in one more Olympics, but that plan was snuffed out by a third-place finish in the 100 back earlier in the week.

Grevers was stunned by the result, knowing he wouldn’t get a chance to defend the gold medal he won at the 2012 London Games.

But after a couple of days to reflect — and plenty of love from those around him — he sounded content with the impact he’s made on the sport.

“The fans have been awesome, very loving,” Grevers said. “Parents, coaches, friends, teammates, they’ve all been supportive and loving. I feel like I couldn’t have had a better career. Everyone appreciates who I am, and that probably means more to me than anything.”

At 6-foot-8, Grevers was one of the most imposing figures on the pool deck. But his laid-back personality and ever-present smile always made him one of the most approachable figures on the national team.

He was impressive in the water, as well.

Grevers won a silver medal in the 100 back at the 2008 Beijing Games, and followed up with his first individual gold in London. He was a stalwart of the relays, earning a pair of golds in 4×100 medley and another in the 4×100 freestyle relay, to go along with a silver in the 4×100 free relay in 2012.

All things being equal, Grevers would have preferred to keep swimming. But he is fully aware of the financial limitations of trying to carry on after missing out on the Olympics.

“The sport of swimming is unforgiving,” he said. “There’s not too many ways to make a livelihood in swimming unless you’re pretty much on the Olympics team.”

Grevers and his wife, Annie, are expecting their first child in November.

“I’ve got to think about supporting the growing family,” he said. “I’ll probably still swim, to be honest, but I’ve got to start that next step in life, get a real job.”

Grevers mentioned coaching as a possibility. Commercial real estate is another option.

No matter what comes next, he will always be proud of what he did in the pool.

“There’s always that battle: When do you step away? On top? Where would I feel satisfied?” Grevers said. “I feel very satisfied. I didn’t bomb or anything. I got third. It’s a tough sport. But it’s not a bad spot to maybe separate a little bit.

“I’ll probably keep swimming,” he added, “but I’m not going to put everything into swimming, like I have forever.”

Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz exit French Open, leaving no U.S. men

Frances Tiafoe French Open

Frances Tiafoe kept coming oh so close to extending his French Open match against Alexander Zverev: 12 times Saturday night, the American was two points from forcing things to a fifth set.

Yet the 12th-seeded Tiafoe never got closer than that.

Instead, the 22nd-seeded Zverev finished out his 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory after more than 3 1/2 hours in Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the fourth round. With Tiafoe’s exit, none of the 16 men from the United States who were in the bracket at the start of the tournament are still in the field.

“I mean, for the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control,” said Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who fell to 1-7 against Zverev.

“It’s just tough,” he said about a half-hour after his loss ended, rubbing his face with his hand. “I should be playing the fifth right now.”

Two other American men lost earlier Saturday: No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and unseeded Marcos Giron.

No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and Nicolas Jarry of Chile eliminated Giron 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3.

There are three U.S women remaining: No. 6 Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

It is the second year in a row that zero men from the United States will participate in the fourth round at Roland Garros. If nothing else, it stands as a symbolic step back for the group after what seemed to be a couple of breakthrough showings at the past two majors.

For Tiafoe, getting to the fourth round is never the goal.

“I want to win the trophy,” he said.

Remember: No American man has won any Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. The French Open has been the least successful major in that stretch with no U.S. men reaching the quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003.

But Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the U.S. Open along the way to getting to the semifinals there last September, the first time in 16 years the host nation had a representative in the men’s final four at Flushing Meadows.

Then, at the Australian Open this January, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton became the first trio of Americans in the men’s quarterfinals in Melbourne since 2000. Paul made it a step beyond that, to the semifinals.

After that came this benchmark: 10 Americans were ranked in the ATP’s Top 50, something that last happened in June 1995.

On Saturday, after putting aside a whiffed over-the-shoulder volley — he leaned atop the net for a moment in disbelief — Tiafoe served for the fourth set at 5-3, but couldn’t seal the deal.

In that game, and the next, and later on, too, including at 5-all in the tiebreaker, he would come within two points of owning that set.

Each time, Zverev claimed the very next point. When Tiafoe sent a forehand wide to end it, Zverev let out two big yells. Then the two, who have been pals for about 15 years, met for a warm embrace at the net, and Zverev placed his hand atop Tiafoe’s head.

“He’s one of my best friends on tour,” said Zverev, a German who twice has reached the semifinals on the red clay of Paris, “but on the court, I’m trying to win.”

At the 2022 French Open, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle while playing Nadal in the semifinals and had to stop.

“It’s been definitely the hardest year of my life, that’s for sure,” Zverev said. “I love tennis more than anything in the world.”

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

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

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw