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US Open special : What we like and dislike about tennis in the “bubble” – Match Points #11

The US Open is under way, and our Match Points panel discuss their opinions of the tournament so far – how they think players are coping with life in the bubble, the atmosphere, and the quality of the spectacle.

September 4, 2020
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Heading into a bubble and isolating from the rest of the world to compete in a US Open is tough for the players.

But Marion Bartoli thinks they won’t mind too much about the lack of fans in the stands.

She, on the other hand, is not keen on the absence of atmosphere at Flushing Meadows.

“I feel even though I am passionate about a match, it’s difficult for me to watch a full match – you feel you are watching a practice,” said the former Wimbledon champion, part of our Match Points panel along with Ben Rothenberg and the absent Noah Rubin – who is in the New York bubble and competing in the men’s doubles.

“The US [Open] is well known for the entertainment…so much noise, so active all around – it’s depressing, actually.”

“The 2020 US Open? Just getting it done is a big accomplishment”

She suggested that the USTA take a tip from the organisers of football matches across Europe, and work with broadcasters to make crowd noise available for viewers on all courts – not just the show courts.

“It’s tough when there are people hitting great shots, and nothing happens – there’s no punctuation,” agreed Rothenberg.

“When you see Andy Murray hit an incredible forehand winner and there’s no noise, what did it mean?”

But he was quick to pay tribute to the hard work of everybody who had to collaborate to get the event on at all.

“A lot of people wanted tennis back – they got tennis back. There’s a Grand Slam event going on – that is not something I was at all confident would happen in 2020. Just getting it done is a big accomplishment.”

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