No fans in stands
Empty stands have been the new normal for tennis since last year due to COVID-19 restrictions but top men’s players like Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic said they still find it difficult to maintain their intensity during matches in the absence of fans.
The professional circuit was shut down for several months last year before tournament organisers set up ‘biosecure bubbles’ for players and support staff while keeping fans away from stadiums.
Barring the swing in Australia in February, tournaments continue to be played in front of a handful of fans at most.Nadal lost some of his intensity during Wednesday’s 6-1 6-2 win over Argentine Delbonis at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Spaniard was in no doubt the absence of fans took something away from the game.
World number one Djokovic produced a high-level performance to beat Italian 19-year-old Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-2 at the ATP Masters 1000 event but he too said he missed the energy generated by spectators.