SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrived in South Korea on Thursday for a two-day visit to inspect preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Bach opened his visit by attending a dinner reception for a trilateral sports minsters’ meeting between South Korea, Japan and China at a Pyeongchang convention center, but he’s not expected to participate in discussions that will continue into Friday, according to an official from South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.
The ministry said the talks are aimed at exploring cooperation between the countries that will host the next three Olympics. Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in 2020 and Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022.
Bach will visit Olympic facilities, including new snow and ice venues that are under construction, and meet with organizers there before leaving the country on Friday afternoon, according to Pyeongchang’s organizing committee. He will be joined by other senior IOC officials, including Gunilla Lindberg, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for Pyeongchang, and Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director.
Pyeongchang organizers have struggled with construction delays, local conflicts over venue constructions and difficulties attracting domestic sponsorships, but optimism over preparations has increased after the successful hosting of test events at Olympic venues earlier this year.
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 most recent match with a right thigh injury last week 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, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes 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 Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
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, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.