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Tokyo governor accepts Olympic marathons move to Sapporo

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TOKYO (AP) — In a feud with the city of Tokyo over moving the Olympic marathon from the Japanese capital to Sapporo, the IOC had its way. The marathon and race walks will go north to what the IOC hopes will make for a cooler race.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who angrily opposed the move in a head-on feud with the IOC, said Friday she would accept it.

“We cannot agree with the final decision, but the IOC has the authority to change,” Koike said on Friday in a meeting with IOC member John Coates. “The most important thing is to assure the success of next year’s games.”

One Japanese news report quoted her saying “it was a painful decision, not an agreement.”

″(The IOC and the city) can now return to the teamwork that has characterized the Tokyo Games,” Coates said after meeting Koike.

The International Olympic Committee abruptly announced the change two weeks ago without consulting Koike or many on the local organizing committee.

An angry Koike called the decision a “shock” and has pushed back against the move since it was announced.

IOC officials, in Tokyo this week to access preparations, met on Friday with Koike, the local organizing committee, and national government officials.

The IOC was not expected to budge — and didn’t.

Coates, the head of the inspection team in Tokyo, said the decision two weeks ago was made after IOC President Thomas Bach saw television scenes of runners collapsing in extreme heat in the marathons at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar.

The unilateral move has created bad feelings and offers a rare glimpse of behind-the-scenes disputes between the IOC and local Olympic organizers.

It’s unclear why the IOC moved on its own, although Bach and IOC the leadership must have guessed that Tokyo officials would not readily approve such a radical change. Which was accurate.

The IOC on Friday agreed that Tokyo will not have to pay for moving the marathon and race walks, and that some expenses incurred by the city to organize the marathon could be reimbursed.

According to a national government audit report last year, Tokyo is spending about $25 billion to organize the Olympics. Organizing committee officials dispute the figure and say it is half that, raising the debate about what are — and are not —Olympic expenses.

All of it is taxpayer money except $5.6 billion from a privately financed operating budget.

MORE: Tokyo Olympic organizers test artificial snow to combat heat

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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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, results

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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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