Justin Gatlin does not plan to race the 200m at any major meet next season, his agent confirmed Thursday.
“The reasoning is to preserve the wear and tear on his body,” agent Renaldo Nehemiah said in an email of Gatlin, who is 34 years old. “Everyone knows he can run a 200m. There’s nothing to prove by running it. And it lessens the chance for getting injured. Nothing is an absolute. But, that’s the plan as of now.”
Gatlin surprisingly failed to make the Rio Olympic 200m final, after taking silver in the 100m three days earlier. The three-time Olympian severely rolled his ankle the previous offseason and said after his 200m semifinal in Rio that it acted up.
“All that torque that you have to go around the track [running the curve on the 200m], it kind of weighed on me,” Gatlin said last Thursday at the USA Track and Field gala in Manhattan.
Gatlin took silver behind Usain Bolt in the 200m at the 2015 World Championships and ran five of the world’s six fastest times in the event over 2014 and 2015.
Gatlin won the Olympic Trials 200m in 19.75 seconds, which was .01 off LaShawn Merritt‘s fastest time in the world for 2016.
“It’s not about beating Usain,” Gatlin said last Thursday. “It’s about getting on that podium and getting as many medals as I can. If that means taking down Usain, so be it. There’s so many other guys jockeying for position now just to get on that podium. So it’s become harder just to stay on the podium.”
In the absence of Bolt and Gatlin, the early 200m favorites for the 2017 World Championships would be Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada, Merritt and Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, who reportedly said he is considering a 200m-400m double next year.
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.