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Volleyball federation questions Argentina over ‘culturally insensitive’ celebration

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FIVB, the international volleyball federation, has asked Argentina’s federation to answer for gestures made after the team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

Several players used their fingers to make their eyes appear slanted, an offensive gesture throughout much of Asia. Major League Baseball suspended Houston first baseman Yuli Garriel for five games after making such a gesture, albeit accompanied by a direct verbal insult toward Los Angeles pitcher Yu Darvish, in the 2017 World Series.

“The FIVB has seen the photographs of the Argentinian men’s volleyball team celebrating their victory at the Tokyo Volleyball Qualification Tournament with inappropriate and culturally insensitive gestures,” the federation said in a press statement. “Last week the FIVB made it clear that these type of actions by players and official representatives of national volleyball teams are completely unacceptable. The FIVB is urgently seeking an explanation from the Argentinian National Federation to ensure that all involved understand that their actions will have caused great offence, even if there was no such intention to do so.”

The team qualified by winning a five-set thriller over China, which hosted the qualification event.

Argentinian star Facundo Conte is well-known in the Chinese volleyball community for his years playing with Shanghai Golden Age, and he faced an onslaught of pointed comments on his Instagram feed:

“Dude, explain you behavior please, you spent 2 seasons in Shanghai, you were respected, and show your respect to Chinese,” wrote one person with an unprintable Instagram ID.

“I’m the one who got your T-shirt last night .. excited .. but I feel upset about your behavior (emoji) can you explain to people that you meant no harm?” wrote Instagram user ykj629.

Conte apologized in a temporary Instagram story:

Conte apology

“The idea was that we became Japanese because we are going to Olympics in Tokyo,” Conte said. “It had nothing to do with no respecting China or Japan! Now we know it wasn’t a good idea, and i regret making you feel that way!”

Argentina has reached the quarterfinals of the last two Olympics, losing each time to Brazil.

The team also won the Pan Am Games tournament for second consecutive time earlier this month without Conte, the MVP of the 2015 tournament.

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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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.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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