Venus Williams likely to miss Olympics for first time since 1996

Venus Williams
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Venus Williams, the most decorated Olympic tennis player in history with five medals and four golds, indicated Tuesday that she will miss the Games for the first time since 1996.

Williams, after winning her Wimbledon first-round singles match, was asked if she will play doubles or mixed doubles in Tokyo.

“I don’t think so,” said Williams, who did not qualify for the Olympics outright in singles.

Williams, 41, defeated Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 on Tuesday to become the fourth-oldest woman to win a Wimbledon singles match. It’s her record 90th Grand Slam main draw dating to the 1997 French Open.

The top four U.S. women in the WTA rankings after the French Open qualified for the Olympics in singles. Williams was ranked 17th among Americans and 103rd overall at the time.

Williams could still have been selected for one of up to two doubles-only spots via USTA discretion.


She owns three Olympic doubles titles with sister Serena (who indicated Saturday that she is not playing the Tokyo Games) and mixed doubles silver with Rajeev Ram from 2016.

Williams played her first Grand Slam women’s doubles match in three years at the French Open earlier this month, losing in the first round with Coco Gauff. Williams is expected to play Wimbledon mixed doubles with Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The U.S. Olympic women’s tennis team has not been announced, but in Serena’s absence, the singles roster is expected to be Sofia KeninJennifer Brady, Gauff and Jessica Pegula. The highest-ranked American doubles players are Nicole Melichar and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Also this week, Romanian Simona Halep and Swiss Stan Wawrinka joined the group of Grand Slam winners to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics.

Halep, the world’s third-ranked women’s singles player, tweeted that she is still out with a left calf tear that forced her out of the French Open and Wimbledon, tournaments that she has won.

Wawrinka, a 2008 Olympic doubles champion with Roger Federer, said he is out after foot surgery, according to reports. Wawrinka, 36, last played in March.

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem previously announced they will not play in Tokyo.

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In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing


Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin

Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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