The US Open is the first Grand Slam to happen in the post-pandemic era. Previously, Wimbledon got canceled, and the French Open has been indefinitely postponed. Naturally, all eyes will be on Flushing Meadows from August 31. The pandemic has put a lot of pressure on the players. A lot of them, including Nadal, Federer, Halep, and Barty aren’t participating due to safety and travel concerns. However, some veterans think this is good news for players like Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.
Five-time US Open Doubles champion Pam Shriver believes this crowdless atmosphere might benefit Serena Williams. “Without the crowds there, I wouldn’t be surprised if she feels a little less pressure,” Shriver said.
Six of the women’s top 10 players aren’t participating, including No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, No. 2 Simon Halep, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 6 Bianca Andreescu (reigning champion), and No. 7 Kiki Bertens.
“I don’t think it devalues the tournament,” said Pam. The former Olympic Gold medallist is hopeful about Serena’s win.
Serena lost her past two US Open titles to Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu. She is one title away from tying the record of most Grand Slams won (male and female player). Margaret Court holds the record with 24 Titles.
Williams, 38, is one of the favorites to win the post-pandemic tournament. If she wins, this will mark her first major title after her pregnancy in 2017. Her last major was the Australian Open in 2017.
“Serena has felt a lot of emotions at the US Open through the years, hence many a meltdown. This pandemic has put a toll on a lot of people and a lot of people in your family, as far as how they’re feeling a lot more anxious,” Shriver said while talking to BBC. “If you’ve been through a lot, as Serena has, she might actually feel more comfortable playing under these circumstances than other athletes.”
Serena Williams is on the verge of making history. Williams has lost four of her last Open Finals. This time, she’ll definitely want to break the losing streak.