Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison believes Ronda Rousey‘s comeback fight should have been an easier match rather than a title bout and that Rousey needs to take “a hard look” at the people around her.
“I think that she has a lot of people maybe around her who don’t necessarily have Ronda’s best interests at heart,” Harrison said in a TMZ interview published Wednesday. “I think she needs to take a good, hard look at that and maybe go back to the day-ones, maybe go back to her family, maybe go back to her original coaches who helped her be successful, and just look at that and say, ‘OK, these people I know really do care about me and what’s best for me as Ronda, not as a fighter, not as a money-making machine, not as an actress, not as a celebrity. But as Ronda.’”
Harrison said Rousey needs to do “soul-searching.”
Rousey’s timid effort against Nunes was certainly not what Harrison, her former judo training partner, predicted.
“I really expected her to come back with a vengeance and to come back bigger and better than ever,” said Harrison, who may make her MMA debut this year. “But I’m not with her now, so I don’t know what her training has been like. I don’t know where her head’s at. When I talked to her a couple of weeks ago, she seemed good about it, but I think really one thing I would have done differently is I wouldn’t have had her fight for the title right away, you know? She probably should have had a match before that match, just to get back into the swing of things.”
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.