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Rob Woollard
For Rob Woollard's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) shoots against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday.
BASKETBALL
Apr 9, 2024
'Caitlin Clark Effect' set to transform WNBA
"No one has been able to capture the kind of magic or lightning in a bottle like Caitlin Clark has done," said one academic.
Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani celebrates with outfielder Teoscar Hernandez after an opening day win against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Thursday.
BASEBALL / MLB
Mar 29, 2024
'Sho-time' at last as Ohtani delights in Dodgers home debut
The 29-year-old did enough in a 7-1 victory to suggest that the Dodgers' money was well spent.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy passes under pressure from Green Bay Packers defensive end Karl Brooks during a playoff game on Jan. 20.
MORE SPORTS / Football
Feb 9, 2024
From 'Mr. Irrelevant' to 'Mr. Right': Purdy plots Super Bowl ambush
Purdy is on the brink of history as he leads the 49ers into Sunday's Super Bowl showdown against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
49ers running back Christian McCaffrey runs with the ball during the team's win over the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 28.
MORE SPORTS / Football
Feb 8, 2024
McCaffrey sprints into Super Bowl as key cog in 49ers offense
McCaffrey heads into the biggest game of his life in blistering form after a regular season campaign that saw him amass 1,459 rushing yards.
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after beating Matteo Arnaldi of Italy on day eight of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York on Monday. Alcaraz is aiming to defend his title after winning the U.S. Open last year.
TENNIS / Tennis
Sep 5, 2023
Alcaraz into U.S. Open last eight as Pegula and Jabeur crash out
The 20-year-old Alcaraz is bidding to become the first man since Roger Federer in 2008 to successfully defend the U.S. Open.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return against France's Alexandre Muller during the U.S. Open tennis tournament men's singles first round match in New York on Monday.
TENNIS
Aug 29, 2023
Djokovic back on top after U.S. Open return as Swiatek advances
Djokovic shrugged off a late-night start on the Arthur Ashe Stadium to demolish France's Alexandre Muller 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 in just 1 hour 35 minutes.
Novak Djokovic practices ahead of the 2023 U.S. Open Tennis Championships, in Flushing Meadows, New York, on Friday.
TENNIS
Aug 28, 2023
Novak Djokovic eyes No.1 as U.S. Open gets underway
The 36-year-old missed the 2022 tournament due to his refusal to get vaccinated.
Japan Times
BASKETBALL / NBA
Feb 6, 2023
LeBron James on precipice of breaking NBA's all-time scoring record
The most likely scenario is that James will claim the record at some point during the Lakers' next two home games.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Dec 19, 2022
Is Lionel Messi the greatest? For his fans, the debate is over.
The absence of a World Cup winners' medal has long been Exhibit A in the argument about why Messi does not rank above Pele and Diego Maradona in football's pantheon.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Dec 17, 2022
France faces virus outbreak ahead of World Cup final
With little more than 24 hours to go before the world champions face Argentina, France has been left reeling by a viral outbreak that is believed to have affected five players so far.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Nov 30, 2022
Gregg Berhalter says U.S. men 'deserve to be here' after Iran win
Five years after the Americans suffered the shock of failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the former defender has led a youthful U.S. team into the knockout phase.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Nov 27, 2022
Lionel Messi magic reignites Argentina; France reaches last 16
An Argentinian victory on Wednesday against Poland will carry the South American champions into the knockout rounds from Group C.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Nov 22, 2022
Gareth Bale rescues Wales with late equalizer against United States
The Welsh captain's successful 83rd-minute penalty conversion triggered roars from a large and raucous contingent of supporters at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
Japan Times
SOCCER
Oct 5, 2022
Becky Sauerbrunn calls for ouster of officials named in abuse report
The two-time World Cup winner said players were 'horrified and heartbroken' by the findings of a report published on Monday following a year-long investigation.
Japan Times
TENNIS
Sep 7, 2022
Ons Jabeur and Danielle Garcia reach U.S. Open semifinals
Tunisia's Jabeur, known in her homeland as the 'Minister of Happiness,' said she had been infused with belief since reaching the Wimbledon final.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on