Canada's Milos Raonic admits not having Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the US Open is a bit weird but adds that it doesn't really have a big effect on those who are playing. World No. 2 Nadal decided to skip the US Open over coronavirus concerns, while former world No.
1 Federer is recovering from a knee surgery. Also, Raonic admitted there are times when players could use the crowd. "I think the easiest thing about not having a crowd atmosphere is that it's a little bit more similar to training.
When we practice, we practice in front of pretty much nobody. Maybe some people stop by, watch over. I'd say most of our practices tend to be done let's say behind closed doors," Raonic said after his US Open first round win.
"The hardest thing is when you do need a little bit of a pick-me-up, I'm sure there's been players that have been down two sets to love, they need that energy to feed off of, it's just not there. All you're hearing around you is crickets.
You have to sort of dig in deep, try to find that within yourself. "I don't think it really does have an effect. It's unfortunate they're not here. I think it's always great for tennis when they're around.
I think each one of us as players is really just focused on who's the next person ahead of us. "Yeah, it's weird at a Grand Slam not having them, but there's many tournaments throughout the year that we play without the two of them there."
Raonic optimistic he can do well at the US Open
Raonic, who ended runner-up at last week's Cincinnati Masters, kicked off his US Open campaign with a 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over Leonardo Mayer. Raonic believes he and fellow Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov can do well at the tournament.
"Yeah, I think the opportunity sort of comes from the players that took the appropriate time and the appropriate measures to most maximize the training for the last five months, however long it's been," Raonic said.
"I know Felix was training. I know all the Canadians have been training. Denis, as well. Me and Denis were both in The Bahamas towards the last part of it. I think those are the ones that are going to have, let's say, the greatest privilege or opportunity. "At the end of the day you still got to show up and play well, play matches, try to find a way to win."