CoCo Vandeweghe spoke of meeting the gold-medal U.S. women’s Olympic hockey team at Madison Square Garden: “Oh, that was so sick. It was really sick to have them there, and they were definitely celebrating what they have achieved, and to be an Olympian is something special,” she said. “I can definitely relate to that. They’re icons. Any gold medalist is an icon. It’s something I want to be and I can look up to.”
Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who hasn’t played in an ATP match since losing to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open, has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open for the second year in a row citing a lingering elbow injury. Last year, the colorful 22-year-old upset Novak Djokovic in the fourth round here before withdrawing from his match against Roger Federer with what was thought to be food poisoning. Kyrgios, the No. 20 seed, hurt the elbow in Australia’s Davis Cup loss in early February, which forced him to pull out of Rotterdam and Delray Beach. He was to play a second-round match Saturday against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, but will be replaced by lucky loser Matteo Berrettini.
Simona Halep defeated Kristyna Pliskova, 6-4, 6-4, in her second-round match on Friday, the 77th-ranked twin sister of world No. 5 seed Karolina, whom Halep considers a friend. Does she have trouble telling the sisters apart?
“I have no idea when I see them,” the world No. 1 confessed. “But I always say hello to the other one. And we’re, like, not really friends. We just say hello.”
Maria Sharapova, who was eliminated in the first round here by Naomi Osaka in straight sets in her return to Indian Wells after a three-year absence, announced Friday a mutual parting of the ways with longtime coach Sven Groeneveld.
A statement on the five-time Grand Slam winner’s website read: “After four successful and challenging years of collaboration together, I would like to thank Sven for his incredible loyalty, work ethic and most importantly the friendship that we have formed that will go beyond this working partnership. Although we have mutually agreed to part ways during this time, I have been incredibly fortunate to have a team leader like him in my corner for the past four years.”
Sharapova, 30 and ranked 41st in the world, returned to the tour last spring after a 15-month doping ban. Earlier this year, she fell in the third round of the Australian Open to Angelique Kerber, and the first round of Doha to Monica Niculescu. Previously, Groeneveld has worked with Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Mary Pierce, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki.