US Open 2020: Kim Clijsters’ return, Serena, other things to know

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The first time Kim Clijsters entered the U.S. Open, all of the long ago in 1999, she confronted a undeniable somebody via the title of Serena Williams. All those years later, with play at Flushing Meadows set to start Monday, three-time U.S. Open champion Clijsters is again at the scene, out of retirement at age 37 and entered in a Grand Slam match for the primary time since 2012.

And Williams, lower than a month from turning 39, remains to be on the peak of tennis, the runner-up in New York every of the previous two years and at 4 of the previous seven main championships.

Asked to title a second that sticks in her reminiscence, Clijsters pointed to that first assembly towards Williams, who received 4-6, 6-2, 7-Five within the 3rd spherical and would pass on to declare the primary of her 23 Grand Slam trophies.

“It was an incredible match. The atmosphere was great. For me, that kind of, I think, started the energy that I feel here when I play here,” mentioned Clijsters, who received the U.S. Open in 2005, 2009 (defeating Williams within the ultimate) and 2010, along side the 2011 Australian Open.

“Any night match that you get to play here at the U.S. Open on Arthur Ashe is incredible,” she mentioned. “It’s nothing like anything else anywhere else.”

As for Clijsters’ ideas on Williams and the potential of equaling Margaret Court’s overall of 24 Slam singles titles?

“The great results she had, not even a year after her daughter was born — playing Grand Slam finals, competing for Grand Slam titles — was, I think, incredible,” Clijsters mentioned. “Obviously, a lot of people talk about it. I think also for her, it gets harder to kind of not let it get to you, I think. She’s still working at it very hard, very passionate out there. That’s what we love to see. She’s a great competitor. Always has been that. You can only support that for somebody who has achieved so much and done so much.”

Here are other things to know because the U.S. Open will get began:

CORONAVIRUS

The pandemic will loom over the 2 weeks. How couldn’t it? In April, indoor apply courts housed a box medical institution. On Sunday, the primary participant, 17th-seeded Benoit Paire of France, examined certain for COVID-19. There are not any spectators. Players’ entourages are restricted to 3 folks. Everyone at the grounds will have to put on mask.

UNBEATEN DJOKOVIC

Novak Djokovic is 23-Zero in 2020, the most efficient opening to a season for a person since he went 41-Zero in 2011. He’s additionally the one member of the Big Three in New York: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer don’t seem to be within the draw. That trio has accrued the previous 13 Grand Slam trophies in a row; that incorporates 5 of the remaining seven for Djokovic by myself. “Whether I have a bigger chance to win it because Roger and Rafa are not here, I really don’t know,” Djokovic mentioned. “I think it’s unfair for me to talk about. That, in a way, is kind of disrespectful towards other players who are here.”

INJURIES?

Ramping up to top-flight pageant after such a lot of months away as a result of the pandemic may just lead to accidents. During the Western & Southern Open, for instance, Djokovic handled a neck factor and two-time main champion Naomi Osaka pulled out of that match’s ultimate as a result of a left hamstring drawback. “I do think that still a lot of players are going to have problems and we’re going to see a lot of withdrawals” on the U.S. Open, 2019 runner-up Daniil Medvedev mentioned, “especially if it’s going to be hot, because … after six months without competitive tennis, to play (best) out of five (sets) is tough.”

COURT SPEED

Players trying out the Billie Jean King Nationals Tennis Center courts in apply or throughout pageant on the Western & Southern Open — in most cases held in Ohio, it shifted to Flushing Meadows as a part of a “controlled environment” — gave the impression just about in settlement: The pace is quicker all over the place except for possibly Ashe and Louis Amstrong Stadium. The emblem of the U.S. Open’s courtroom surfaces modified for the primary time since 1978, with a five-year settlement to use Laykold arduous courts made via Advanced Polymer Technology. “At least 20-30% quicker than last year’s,” Djokovic mentioned.

HAWKEYE LIVE

There shall be line judges best at the two greatest courts. Everywhere else, a chair umpire shall be assisted via digital line-calling — disposing of the human part within the title of social distancing. Other concessions come with: qualifying and blended doubles have been eradicated totally; the lads’s and girls’s doubles fields have been lowered via part; overall prize cash diminished, together with a lower from $3.85 million to $Three million every to the singles champions.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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