Mikaela Shiffrin ties Lindsey Vonn’s record for World Cup wins


Mikaela Shiffrin tied Lindsey Vonn‘s female record with her 82nd career World Cup win, taking a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Sunday.

Shiffrin’s first bid to break the record will be Tuesday in a night slalom in Flachau, Austria, live on Peacock.

The only Alpine skier with more World Cup wins than Shiffrin is Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who racked up 86 in the 1970s and ’80s.

On Sunday, Shiffrin said she developed a face rash and felt like she could pass out at the start because she was so nervous. Yet she was fastest in both runs and prevailed by .77 of a second over Italian Federica Brignone. She pumped her arms and yelled after finishing, then sat with her arms folded around her knees.

“I don’t care about the number,” Shiffrin said. “I just focus on the skiing.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

The 2012 song “Hall of Fame” by the Script began playing over loud speakers, followed by Tina Turner‘s “Simply the Best.”

“I don’t know why [I was so nervous], maybe a little bit was because of 82,” said Shiffrin, saying it was maybe the most nervous she has ever felt at a ski race. “I really wanted to ski it well, and I did.

“I hope some day I can ski like that again because it was maybe the best skiing I ever did in a GS.”

Later, Shiffrin shed tears on the podium.

“My dad used to be there and taking pictures, and most races these days, I’ll think about him,” Shiffrin said of her father, Jeff, who died unexpectedly on Feb. 2, 2020. “Before I ever won my first World Cup, he said, ‘You better memorize the words of the national anthem, because if you ever win, you better sing it.’ And so I always think about him when I’m up there.”

Shiffrin continued a torrid start to the season with her eighth victory in 15 tries, which included a five-race win streak that was snapped when she tied for sixth in a GS on Saturday.

“The heart’s beating, and I can’t feel my legs,” she said. “Every time I feel that, then I try to be more powerful, like somehow push harder instead of being too nice to the trail or something.”

The 27-year-old has as many victories this season as her last two seasons combined. The last time she won this many races in one season was her record 17-win campaign in 2018-19.

It took Shiffrin 233 World Cup starts to reach 82 wins. Vonn won her 82nd around her 390th start at age 33. Stenmark won his 82nd at age 29 around his 220th start, according to ski-db.com (when extracting parallel races that didn’t count as World Cups back then).

Shiffrin also moved into solo second place for women’s World Cup giant slalom wins with her 17th, trailing only Swiss Vreni Schneider, who won 20. Shiffrin already owns the most slalom wins for men or women with 51, a record for any discipline.

Attention now turns to breaking the record she now shares with Vonn, then pursuing Stenmark. One person who is not focused on it: Shiffrin.

“Maybe at some point people will stop talking about it,” she laughed. “It’s not my goal, but it’s an important thing. I’m not very good at finding words to describe that. If I get there, I hope I can keep it in my own head in a way that it’s not a relief to get to 86 because it would be such a shame to feel relieved about 86 victories, because then it’s over. I should just celebrate whatever comes for the next races and for the rest of my career because I don’t want to ruin it by chasing some record that probably shouldn’t be broken anyway.”

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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At the French Open, a Ukrainian mom makes her comeback


Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, once the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is into the French Open third round in her first major tournament since childbirth.

Svitolina, 28, swept 2022 French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, then beat Australian qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. She next plays 56th-ranked Russian Anna Blinkova, who took out the top French player, fifth seed Caroline Garcia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on her ninth match point.

Svitolina’s husband, French player Gael Monfils, finished his first-round five-set win after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She watched that match on a computer before going to sleep ahead of her 11 a.m. start Wednesday.

“This morning, he told me, ‘I’m coming to your match, so make it worth it,'” she joked on Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, no pressure.

“I don’t know what he’s doing here now. He should be resting.”

Also Wednesday, 108th-ranked Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis ousted three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in four and a half hours. Wawrinka’s exit leaves Novak Djokovic as the lone man in the draw who has won the French Open and Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz as the lone men left who have won any major.

The top seed Alcaraz beat 112th-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The Spaniard gets 26th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the third round. Djokovic, the No. 3 seed, swept 83rd-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (2), 6-0, 6-3 to reach a third-round date with 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Svitolina made at least one major quarterfinal every year from 2017 through 2021, including the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019. She married Monfils one week before the Tokyo Olympics, then won a singles bronze medal.

Svitolina played her last match before maternity leave on March 24, 2022, one month after Russia invaded her country. She gave birth to daughter Skai on Oct. 15.

Svitolina returned to competition in April. Last week, she won the tournament preceding the French Open, sweeping Blinkova to improve to 17-3 in her career in finals. She’s playing on a protected ranking of 27th after her year absence and, now, on a seven-match win streak.

“It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go,” she said. “I’m as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger, because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I’m getting better. Also mentally, because mental can influence your physicality, as well.”

Svitolina said she’s motivated by goals to attain before she retires from the sport and to help Ukraine, such as donating her prize money from last week’s title in Strasbourg.

“These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war, and now maybe they don’t have the opportunity,” she said. “But these moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themselves as much as they can in this horrible situation.”

Svitolina was born in Odesa and has lived in Kharkiv, two cities that have been attacked by Russia.

“I talk a lot with my friends, with my family back in Ukraine, and it’s a horrible thing, but they are used to it now,” she said. “They are used to the alarms that are on. As soon as they hear something, they go to the bomb shelters. Sleepless nights. You know, it’s a terrible thing, but they tell me that now it’s a part of their life, which is very, very sad.”

Svitolina noted that she plays with a flag next to her name — unlike the Russians and Belarusians, who are allowed to play as neutral athletes.

“When I step on the court, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that all of us Ukrainians have and how Ukrainians are fighting for their values, for their freedom in Ukraine,” she said, “and me, I’m fighting here on my own front line.”

Svitolina said that she’s noticed “a lot of rubbish” concerning how tennis is reacting to the war.

“We have to focus on what the main point of what is going on,” she said. “Ukrainian people need help and need support. We are focusing on so many things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything.

“I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That’s the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war, and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“You can donate. Couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people.”

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