Laurie Hernandez’s new normal: training 2,000 miles from her coaches

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Laurie Hernandez wanted to be with family during the coronavirus pandemic, which meant moving across the country.

Hernandez, the Rio Olympian coming back for a Tokyo Games bid, flew from her training base in Orange County, Calif., to her native New Jersey about four months ago. She’s been training at a Garden State gym, though her primary coaches aren’t with her.

She called the situation “kind of weird” on an “On Her Turf” virtual athlete panel with fellow Olympians Sydney McLaughlin, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Breanna StewartErin Lim, host of “The Rundown” on E!’s Snapchat, moderated the panel.

“People that are overseeing here are absolutely wonderful,” Hernandez said. “I kind of miss that dynamic [in California], but again it’s a new normal, and I also know that I’m very privileged because I have a place to go.”

Hernandez, a gold and silver medalist in Rio, was the youngest U.S. female Olympian across all sports at age 16. She took a break from competition after the Olympics, won “Dancing with the Stars” and began her comeback in earnest in 2019, attending her first U.S. national team camp since the Rio Games in November.

She planned to return to competition this spring, before the pandemic halted sports and postponed the Olympics to 2021.

“It’s definitely really helpful, I’m not gonna lie,” Hernandez said. “The extra year actually gives me a lot more time to train and add some upgrades and maybe get a little more consistent on things that I wasn’t too sure about for this year.”

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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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