A moment among so many others. Sunday, September 5, 3rd round of the women’s draw, the American Shelby Rogers challenges the world number one Ashleigh Barty. Led 5-2 in the decisive set, Rogers clings to each point to catch up. Here we are at 5-4, 30-A; the Aussie serves and tries to get to the net. The reply: a “moon ball”, almost a false lob, which catches the line. The following ? An eruption of uncontrolled joy from the short Arthur-Ashe and momentum that changes instantly. The American breaks and ends up winning in an electric tie-break where the public, won over to the cause of her champion, will have a role at least as important as the players themselves.
“I feel like you picked the one you wanted to see winexplained Rogers in stride, addressing the delirious crowd. So thank you for choosing me tonight. You guys are in control of this tournament“. That evening, the nationality of Rogers obviously counted in this unfailing support. But it was also his status in this match, outsider at the foot of the wall in a decisive round, which will have decided the spectators of the evening to put behind it.
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“Honestly the fans are probably the reason I won tonightshe explained afterwards at a press conference. My tactics were good, sure, but they gave me that little something that I probably couldn’t have brought on my own. […] I’m grateful to them that I couldn’t hear my breathing as loudly as last year in an empty stadium. My God, that was amazing. I got chills on the court“.
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“Rollercoaster” of emotions
Here, we shape destinies, reputations. Here, we play the role of particle accelerator, as evidenced by the birth certificate of Carlos Alcaraz who has never ceased to recall the importance of the crowd in his recent exploits. Here, we bring out the best (or the worst) of the players. Here, it’s an emotional elevator, an emotional “rollercoaster”, from which no one comes out unscathed.
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“I feel like when I play here it’s more than just a tennis match, just a win or lose matchdetailed in particular Frances Tiafoe despite her failure in the round of 16. Frankly, it completely upsets me, I almost cried when I left the court. Not only because I had lost but especially for the wave of support, of love that I received. Losing a match is frankly ridiculous compared to what we can receive […] In the third set, as I bounce my ball before serving, I hear four kids telling me ‘no matter what, you are my inspiration.’ What is this madness ?“.
Flushing, that’s it: a joyful brothel where everyone speaks out loud, where some even move during the points and where the smell of grease mixes with the heat of the crowd. But when the gladiators manage to capture the attention of the audience, especially on the Arthur-Ashe court, the largest in the world, then it’s a tidal wave that sweeps away everything in its path and that has no no equivalence on the circuit.
Even Novak Djokovic, who has yet seen others, recognized an atmosphere on Tuesday “phenomenal“and admitted a certain relief to find this kind of emotion after almost a year and a half under glass.”We are frankly privileged to have this attention and this support. […] I think people have been missing out on action, entertainment by being under duress for over a year“. So, inevitably, the reunions are noisy, warm, rowdy and sometimes electric. And it is ultimately the level of play that suffers.
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Exceptional Grand Slam: what if it was the public?
For the past few days, a passionate discussion has opened up: where to situate this completely crazy US Open in the hierarchy of recent Majors? “I think this is so far the best Grand Slam tournament I can remember in many, many years.“, our consultant Alex Corretja estimated on Sunday. Homeric fights in five sets, revelations in all directions and a frankly incredible technical level: yes, this edition is five stars.
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