Being inside the tennis bubble not only affects players



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Being inside the tennis bubble not only affects players

"We want players to stay safe from the virus and play, but not seeing them in person and walking on the grounds of the U.S. Open is terrible," a fan has commented after decades of buying tickets, taking selfies with players and applauding in the stands plus buying souvenirs.

The joys of going to a live tennis match are indescribable, but for fans not being able to attend can be 'a slap in the face.' "I miss walking through the crowded food court and trying to get seats for my family", a middle-aged woman shook her head, getting tearful.

There was another adult fan who said "I miss those Grey Goose stands. I loved them." Some children walking near the icon sphere stadium had screamed that "We used to run around getting autographs from the players, now we can't go in."

Players' families and friends as well as their team are also feeling slighted from not being out and about in Manhattan, now prohibited by the USTA. The pulse and beat of New York has been ingrained with the tennis community for decades.

The idea of eating in the cafes, shopping in Manhattan and just being in the mix with tourists and residents can't be substituted. It's undeniable that the force of the coronavirus pandemic can't be taken lightly though.

The Western and Southern tournament was a taste of what the rhythm will be when it comes to the U.S. Open. Novak Djokovic, the 2020 Western and Southern champion captured his second in three years as he said he felt the loss of fan support that "..it's a ghost town.

Not many people around. We're not used to seeing it that way." He was especially marred by the absence of the 'feel good' surrounds. "You can hear yourself breathe," France's Kristina Mladenovic had said sadly.

It was Canada's 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime who had gotten honest and said "To have nobody, to have no crowd, it feels weird. I'm not a fan of it." Third ranked Dominic Thiem got emotional when thinking of how many times he performed in the larger arenas and hearing the crowd's roar.

"And now, in an empty stadium, maybe your coach and your team is there. These are the only people. That makes it, I guess very, very lonely. Very, very tough."

It's the grim reality of what the pandemic has done to the world at large.

The Western and Southern relocated to the grounds of the Open at Flushing but the women's winner by a walkover because of Naomi Osaka's hamstring injury was Victoria Azarenka.

She tried diligently to not let the absence of the fans affect her performance. "I definitely miss the fans. I'm not gonna sit here and lie to you, it sucks," she started getting real. She was glad to have captured also her second Western and Southern title the first 7 years ago.

The entire tournament was significant and she presented a broad smile as she summed up her feelings saying, "It's my first title as a mom."