The five-time US Open doubles champion Pam Shriver believes Serena Williams will feel less pressure without the crowd at the upcoming US Open. The American is chasing the elusive 24th Major crown, losing the last four finals at Wimbledon and the US Open and hoping to finally change that and tie Margaret Court's record.
Serena is the six-time US Open champion, claiming the first title back in 1999 and staying competitive for more than two decades, losing the title match in the previous two seasons to Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu. Besides great results, Serena had also struggled to tame her temper in front of the home crowd, having issues with the referees and not being able to stand the pressure and lift the trophy since 2014.
The next edition starts in two weeks and Serena should be among the favorites, with six top-10 players opting to skip New York and not travel to the USA.
Serena Williams will chase the seventh title at the US Open, the first since 2014.
In her first tournament after the coronavirus outbreak, Williams reached the quarter-final in Lexington, beating Bernarda Pera and her sister Venus in the opening rounds before falling to Shelby Rogers.
It was Serena's first loss to a player ranked outside the top-100 since Roland Garros 2012, struggling to find the rhythm on the return after a strong start to fall 1-6, 6-4, 7-6. Thanks to that opening set, Serena won six points more, not enough to go through after taking only 16 points on the return in sets two and three.
Shelby raised her level after the opener, placing smart serves and outplaying a great champion from the baseline for a career-best result and the place in the semis. Serena grabbed two breaks in the opener, never repeating anything similar and giving serve away in the tenth game of set number two that cost her dearly.
There were no breaks of serve in the decider, with Roger taking the tie break 7-5 to seal the deal and stay on the title course. "Without the crowds there, I wouldn't be surprised if she actually feels a little less pressure.
I don't think it devalues the tournament. Anyone who comes through and wins seven rounds, under the circumstances of living in a quarantine bubble, unable to do the normal thing you usually do at a Major, it will be an incredible performance.
Serena has felt a lot of emotions at the US Open through the years, hence many meltdowns. This pandemic has really put a toll on many people, as far as how they're feeling a lot more anxious. If you've been through a lot, as Serena has, she might feel more comfortable playing under these circumstances than other athletes," said Pam Shriver.