Usain Bolt ponders TV work, compliments Justin Gatlin

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Usain Bolt is not interested in his own TV show in retirement, but analyst work may be in his future.

“I know I’m a showman, but I’m not really into television that much to be having my own show or anything,” Bolt said Monday in Ostrava, two days before he races in the Czech city for a ninth time. “I just like entertaining the crowd.

“We’ll see about the TV [commentary] part. I’m not sure, but I’m sure somebody will want me to do some stuff with them.”

Bolt will race a 100m in Ostrava on Wednesday at 2:55 p.m. ET against a weak field. He continues to prepare for his farewell world championships in London in August before hanging up the spikes.

Bolt repeated Monday that he may race again this season after worlds.

He goes into Wednesday’s race, his second of the season, ranked No. 22 in the world in the 100m. Bolt ran 10.03 seconds at his final career race in Jamaica on June 10, his slowest-ever 100m this late in a season. He called that effort “horrifying.”

It’s not much of a worry, given Bolt’s history of easing into the summer. And that no other sprinter is unbeaten this season.

Bolt said he was “shocked” that his main rival the last few years, Justin Gatlin, came back to win the U.S. 100m title on Friday night.

Gatlin, who had not run a sub-10 wind-legal 100m in 2017 going into that final, overcame NCAA champion Christian Coleman in 9.95 seconds. Coleman, who made the U.S. team in the 100m and 200m, still owns the fastest time in the world this year of 9.82 seconds.

“I was actually shocked that [Gatlin] actually won the trials because of just how quick the young kids were running,” said Bolt, who won his third Olympic title in Rio in 9.81 seconds, his slowest winning time at an Olympics or worlds. “That just shows that Justin Gatlin’s a competitor, you know what I mean? He shows, year after year, that he’s not be taken lightly.”

It sets up another potential Bolt-Gatlin showdown in the world championships 100m final on Aug. 5. Bolt relegated Gatlin to silver at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds and in Rio.

Bolt’s coach for all of those Olympic titles, Glen Mills, has been pushing the sprinter hard to get into coaching.

“Maybe next season, I’ll be at the track a lot, but I won’t be a coach [yet],” Bolt said. “I just want do what I have to and retire, take a vacation. Just relax. I let my team worry about what direction I should go after I retire.”

Bolt has repeated that he will miss two facets of being a professional athlete — the fans and the competition.

“Especially if I see like a youngster steps up and starts running some fast times, I’ll definitely think I’ll miss the fact that I could have gotten the chance to compete against this person,” he said.

Those youngsters may already be emerging.

Wayde van Niekerk, the 24-year-old South African who broke Michael Johnson‘s 400m world record in Rio, is set to challenge Johnson’s 300m world record in Ostrava on Wednesday.

Van Niekerk is also expected to race the 200m at worlds, but Bolt is skipping that race for the first time in his career.

Then there’s 22-year-old Canadian Andre De Grasse, who ran 9.69 seconds on June 18, albeit with a massive 4.8 meters/second tailwind, making it ineligible for ranking purposes.

Can Bolt keep up with that?

“Well, I am the fastest man in the world,” he said. “So, yeah, I will say yes to that.”

MORE: Gatlin gets one more shot at Bolt after surprise U.S. 100m title

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Taylor Fritz becomes crowd enemy at French Open

Taylor Fritz French Open
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The French Open crowd was not happy with American player Taylor Fritz after he beat one of their own — indeed, their last man in the bracket — so they booed and whistle relentlessly. Fritz’s response? He told them to shush. Over and over again.

Fritz, a 25-year-old from California who is seeded No. 9 at Roland Garros, got into a back-and-forth with the fans at Court Suzanne Lenglen after his 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory over 78th-ranked Arthur Rinderknech in the second round on Thursday night.

Rinderknech attempted a lob that landed long on the last point, and Fritz, who had been running toward the baseline to chase the ball, immediately looked up into the stands and pressed his right index finger to his lips to say, essentially, “Hush!”

He held that pose for a bit as he headed back toward the net for a postmatch handshake, then spread his arms wide, wind-milled them a bit as if to egg on the rowdiness, and yelled: “Come on! I want to hear it!”

During the customary winner’s on-court interview that followed, more jeers rained down on Fritz, and 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli kept pausing her attempts to ask a question into her microphone.

So Fritz again said, “Shhhhh!” and put his finger toward his mouth, while Bartoli unsuccessfully tried to get the spectators to lower their decibel level.

More boos. More whistles.

And the awkwardness continued as both Bartoli and a stadium announcer kept saying, “S’il vous plaît” — “Please!” — to no avail, while Fritz stood there with his arms crossed.

A few U.S. supporters with signs and flags drew Fritz’s attention from the front row, and he looked over and said to them, “I love you guys.”

But the interview was still on hold.

Bartoli tried asking a question in English, which only served to draw more boos.

So Fritz told her he couldn’t hear her. Bartoli moved closer and finally got out a query — but it didn’t seem to matter what her words were.

Fritz, who has been featured on the Netflix docuseries about tennis called “Break Point,” had his hands on his hips and a message on his mind — one reminiscent of Daniil Medvedev’s contretemps with fans at the 2019 U.S. Open.

“I came out and the crowd was so great honestly. Like, the crowd was just so great,” Fritz said, as folks tried to drown out his voice. “They cheered so well for me, I wanted to make sure that I won. Thanks, guys.”

And with that, he exited the stage.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

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French Open: Coco Gauff to face younger opponent for first time at a Grand Slam

Coco Gauff French Open
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Coco Gauff‘s first 49 Grand Slam main draw singles matches were all against older opponents. Her 50th will be against a younger one.

The sixth-seeded Gauff reached the French Open third round by beating 61st-ranked Austrian Julia Grabher 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. Gauff, 19, next plays 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the round of 32 on Saturday.

“I don’t see age as a factor,” said Gauff, who has practiced with Andreeva. “When you step on the court, you just see your opponent, and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

Gauff made her major debut at age 15 in 2019 by beating Venus Williams at Wimbledon. In her 15 majors, Gauff has usually been the youngest male or female singles player, including most recently at 2022 Wimbledon. She is still the lone teenager in the WTA top 49.

But that may soon change. Youngsters from the Czech Republic and Russia are on the rise. Such as Andreeva, who, at No. 143 in the world and climbing, is the highest-ranked player under the age of 18. And she doesn’t turn 17 until next April. Andreeva dropped just six games in her first two matches, fewest of any woman.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

But Gauff is still in a class of her own among her generation, having at last year’s French Open become the youngest major finalist since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17. She somehow flew somewhat under the radar into Paris this year with a 4-4 record this spring and in between full-time coaches.

She has now won back-to-back matches for the first time since March, rallying past 71st-ranked Spaniard Rebeka Masarova in the first round and then dispatching an error-prone Grabher, a runner-up at a low-level clay event last week.

The other three seeds in Gauff’s section have all lost, so she would not play a seed until the quarterfinals. And that would be No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who has won all 12 sets they’ve played, including in last year’s French Open final.

“I lost that final, and like for like a week or two, I really thought it was the worst thing ever,” Gauff said. “There’s no point in me revisiting last year. It’s in the past. It was a great tournament, but I’m looking forward for more this week.”

While the men’s draw has been upended by 14-time champion Rafael Nadal‘s pre-event withdrawal and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev‘s loss in the first round, the top women have taken care of business.

The top four seeds — Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, American Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan — all reached the third round without dropping a set.

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