Serena Williams might feel ‘a little less pressure’ without crowd, says Pam Shriver

Serena Williams in action

Tennis pundit Pam Shriver says the decision to play the US Open behind closed doors could work in Serena Williams’ favour.

For the first time in history, there will be no fans at the hard-court Grand Slam as it will be played without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Williams is looking to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam, but she has lost her last four finals, including the 2018 and 2019 US Open finals.

Shriver, though, feels the fact that there will be no fans could boost Williams’ chances of finally winning major number 24.

“Without the crowds there, I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually feels a little less pressure,” the former Grand Slam finalist is quoted as saying by BBC.

She added: “Serena has felt a lot of emotions at the US Open through the years, hence many a meltdown.

“This pandemic has really put a toll on a lot of people and a lot of people in your family, as far as how they’re feeling a lot more anxious.

“If you’ve been through a lot, as Serena has, she might actually feel more comfortable playing under these circumstances than other athletes.”

The struggle to contain Covid-19 has also resulted in the withdrawal of several high-profile players including defending champions Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu, and world No 1 Ashleigh Barty and world No 2 Simona Halep.

Many believe it will be a second-rate Grand Slam, but Shriver is having none of it.

“I don’t think it devalues the tournament,” she said.

“Anybody that comes through and wins seven rounds, under the circumstances of living in a quarantine bubble, unable to do your normal thing you usually do at a major, it is going to be an incredible performance.”

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