Former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova has given her opinion on the possibility of playing the 2020 US Open behind closed doors, and it is diametrically opposite of Roger Federer's.
The Czech player said that the WTA players wouldn't find any significant difference if the US Open didn't allow spectators this year, because many of their regular matches attract very few fans anyway. Karolina Pliskova feels that while Roger Federer might find it 'difficult' to play behind closed doors, the women's players are used to it.
During an interview with Telegraph Sport, the current World No. 3 pointed out that some tennis is better than no tennis, irrespective of the conditions. This was in response to being told about the possibility of the US Open 2020 taking place in August with no live audience, assuming that the coronavirus situation is brought under control by then.
Roger Federer had stated last week that he didn't miss tennis a lot and that he was willing to wait for things to return to normal before the sport resumes. But Karolina Pliskova - and a few others - don't feel the same way.
Karolina Pliskova highlights the privileges that Roger Federer and the rest of the ATP tour enjoy
A few days ago Greg Rusedski had said that it was in the interest of the sport for the US Open to go ahead even if there are no spectators. Karolina Pliskova agreed with the Brit and said:
"We can have matches where there is nobody. If you play at 1 am, then there's not many people anyway."
Karolina Pliskova further hinted that tournament organizers often award prime time slots to men's matches, which is why almost every female tennis player has played in front of small crowds at some point or the other.
"Maybe Roger, he never experienced that, but I think me and the girls overall have had experience of nobody [in the stands], or only a couple of people," Pliskova continued.
The vast difference between the popularity of men's and women's tennis
Although the combined tennis tournaments have equal prize money for both genders now, not everything about the tours is similar. The viewership and attendance for men's matches are usually way higher than games featuring female players, which has become a sore sticking point in a wide range of discussions.
Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal had once stated that organizers should use viewership figures to determine the prize money for both genders instead of giving equal shares. Even Novak Djokovic had questioned equal prize money, citing viewership and attendance figures as a reason to increase the share earned by the men.
The men's tennis players, especially Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, are crowd-pullers who always attract fans in droves. They even charge massive amounts to play in small tournaments.
Recently, Federer and Alexander Zverev shattered the attendance record for tennis by playing an exhibition match in front of over 42,000 spectators in Mexico.
On the women's side, only the Grand Slam finals have received comparable viewership in recent times; the numbers in the earlier rounds have been relatively smaller. The top-ranked male players guarantee a jam-packed arena irrespective of the phase of the tournament, but the top-ranked female players don't.
The organizers know this too, which is why they often schedule the men's games for prime time slots while the WTA players compete during the early morning or late-night sessions. And that is precisely the situation that Karolina Pliskova was referring to with her statement about playing without fans.Published 03 Jun 2020, 19:14 IST