Less buzz at the U.S. Open as the show goes on without Serena Williams – National
With the curtain lowered Serena Williams display, US Open woke up feeling empty on Saturday as the tennis world began adjusting to life without the sport’s biggest star.
For the first time since the US Open began on Monday, Williams’ name was not on the Flushing Meadows schedule.
Serena, Venus Williams lost in the first round of the US Open mixed doubles against the Czech team
The buzz had gone off the charts just 12 hours earlier, when Williams lost a three-set match to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the final singles match of her glittering career, which had been reduced to a noise on Thursday. Seven as lost- fans were searching around the tennis complex that stretched from court to court.
Williams signaled her intention to retire in an article in Vogue in early August, saying she was “growing away from tennis” and though she never confirmed the US Open as the final event. At the end of the day, the news caused a frenzy with fans who didn’t want to miss their chance to see the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion again.
For nearly a week, matches featured Williams, sister Venus, or both in doubles, providing the focal point of the day on which everything revolved.
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Each of Serena’s three singles matches drew record sales to Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It was the sisters’ demand for tickets to their first doubles match in more than four years that prompted the United States Tennis Association to make the unprecedented decision to postpone the opening round competition, losing to Czech duo Lucie Hradecka. and Linda Noskova, before Arthur Ashe. So is the stadium.
Those who could not get tickets watched in record numbers.
Serena’s second-round victory over world number two Anett Kontaveit drew 5 million viewers, making it the most-watched US Open first-round television show ever on the ESPN network.
As the season’s final Grand Slam enters its second week, the question is who will fill the void.
“Obviously there’s going to be a gap, a huge gap that’s going to be very difficult to bridge in the short term,” said seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe. “We all know that life goes on and they keep playing.
“Hopefully, eventually, there will be other superstars coming along.
“But at the moment, it’s almost impossible, if not impossible, to fill those shoes.”
World number one Iga Swiatek may take center stage but the New York crowd is more likely to be drawn in by the 18-year-old American Coco Gauff, who is about to take the torch from the Williams sisters.
There are plenty of big names left in the men’s draw with world number one and defending champion Daniil Medvedev and hugely popular Rafa Nadal.
But it is Australia’s unpredictable firefighter Nick Kyrgios who is most likely to attract attention.
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Better known for his antics than for his play, Kyrgios tapped some of his huge potential in the Wimbledon final in June, marking him as a real threat on the hard courts. Flushing Meadows’ snake if he can maintain his composure.
His form and composure will both be tested in the delicious Arthur Ashe clash with Medvedev, which was the highlight of Sunday’s schedule.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in New York, editing by Toby Davis)