'Even For Her It Was Too Much': How Crowd Influenced Sabalenka's US Open Final Loss

'Even For Her It Was Too Much': How Crowd Influenced Sabalenka's US Open Final Loss

by Evita Mueller

Former player Rennae Stubbs broke down the US Open final between Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka, explaining what went wrong for the Belarusian.

Even if Coco Gauff won the WTA 1000 event in Cincinnati and arrived in New York with a winning streak, many still slightly favoured Sabalenka in the final. It was rather clear why - experience; she was the player who actually won a Grand Slam before and those things do matter.

Despite having experience, Sabalenka didn't remain the calmer player. She started well, won the opening set, but then dropped the next two to lose the match. Most of that came because she couldn't stay composed when it mattered the most.

Having a very hostile crowd at the packed Arthur Ashe Stadium certainly didn't help, and Stubbs, who talked on her Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, thinks it played a pretty big factor.

I think the crowd factor was definitely a part of this match, and there's no doubt about it. I think Aryna, out of all players, can handle it, she loves the fight and the atmosphere very much like Novak does. But I think even for her it was too much.

I know as a player what's it like, not playing in the closest realm of 20,000 people but I've played in front of a very raucous crowd. Whether it be in Spain, Fed Cup, whatever. You know you're gonna miss a shot and the crowd is gonna go bonkers when you miss it, and it's very anxiety-inducing. And it makes you often miss shots, you're gonna yell and scream, I think that is a factor.

Sabalenka knew the crowd would be against her, but she snuck in a nice joke during the trophy ceremony when the crowd applauded her. She said they could have cheered for her like that during the match. She also admitted after the match that the loss had more to do with her than Gauff, which Stubbs alluded to.


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