American Coco Gauff remains nonplussed as she plays this week’s WTA event in Ostrava inside a crowd-free arena.

With COVID-19 in the rise in the Czech Republic, the tournament has been given a special dispensation to play on inside its bio-bubble while much of the  rest of the city shuts down,

Teenaged Gauff, ranked 55th, is taking it all in her stride, with the empty ambience reminding her of just a few years ago as she began climbing the tennis ladder.

“It really takes me back to Juniors, when we didn’t have any big crowds or anything,” the 16-year-old said. “You definitely need to cheer yourself on more, pump yourself up more than normally.”

But Gauff admitted that competing inside a deserted indoor arena remains slightly off-putting:

“For me, it’s more weird to play in an empty stadium than in an empty outside court…it’s kind of awkward.” 

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