Serena Williams leads a U.S. Open women’s singles entry list that includes 27 of the top 28 in the world.
The lone significant absentee is No. 1 Ash Barty, who announced July 29 that she wasn’t comfortable traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion, eyes a 24th Grand Slam singles title that would tie Margaret Court‘s record. Most of Court’s titles came before the Open Era, including Australian Opens that didn’t include many of the world’s top players.
Williams’ biggest threats to history include the women who beat her in the last two U.S. Open finals — Canadian Bianca Andreescu and Japanese Naomi Osaka.
All of the top Americans are entered, including Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys and Coco Gauff.
The U.S. Open starts as scheduled Aug. 31 without fans.
Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.
Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.
He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.
The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.
Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).
The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.
British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.
Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.
“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”
Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.
Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.
Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.