Coco Gauff is braced for a lacklustre US Open, as the Grand Slam goes ahead from August 31 without fans and with players enclosed on a much-touted “health bubble.”
For the 16-year-old, a lack of spectators in New York will not pose a problem.
Even after her massive popularity boost over the past two seasons as the future of the women’s game, the young American also recalls playing in front of a man and his dog in her junior days.
“I still would not say that I am totally used to playing in front of a large public,” Gauff said at the weekend.
“A year and a half ago nobody knew me , so I guess it is not too difficult for me to play behind closed doors.
“It is clear that I prefer to play with the public, but there is a part of playing this way that I like, it helps me to stay motivated, there is a lot of calm.
“It’s a different situation, but I do not dislike it . “
Gauff reached the Lexington semi-finals last week as she prepares to play the “Cincinnati” Masters and the Open – with both events to be staged behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows ove a three-week period starting this weekend.
Nevertheless, Gauff, will could still be longing for the former days of the rowdy – some half-drunk for night session – New York fans cheering and jeering in the cavernous Ashe stadium.
“The New York crowd, which is crazy, may be a disadvantage for American players, ” Gauff said.
“From what I know, the public can change a game, so (this) will be a different experience. In the end, we will all have to be our own fan during the game to cheer us up.”