s, open preview. I am coming to you from the new york city bubble and today i have espn’s chris fowler and my absolute favorite legend chrissy evert. So how do you think the players are going to respond to this environment? I mean i’m telling you coming from the bubble. Everything is different about this year’s u.s open. You have covetous every other day. You have masks. You have no fans, limited team members, limited areas that you can go in. You don’t even get a locker right now you can just change and then you got ta leave and it’s ever it’s like this, for a solid two and a half three weeks, you’re right about the fans, i mean they’re such a huge part, especially the us open New york fans, i mean haven’t, they been voted of all the grand slams. I mean they’re, they’re, boisterous, they’re, supportive of especially of american players and the players feed off their energy. Like you said, um it’s going to be interesting with with silence it’s going to be interesting and i’m. Almost thinking, there’s going to be more upsets, first of all number one, because players are rusty and they haven’t played in five or six months. There’S. No momentum going with any of the players but, on the other hand, i’m thinking that there can be upsets because you know usually, if um, a lower ranked player lands on ash against a top player with 20 000 people, they’re totally frozen or paralyzed or intimidated.

By that occasion, there’s going to be less pressure for the lower ranked players chris. What do you think yeah? Well, i think it’s interesting, i mean some players, you think of as energy players. They need that they rely on it. Other players, i think, bring a focus to the court and you don’t get the sense that it matters to them if there’s, 20, 000 or 20 people watching to me, those players that can bring their own energy and their own focus and don’t rely on it. From the crowd should have an advantage, i think you make a great point, though there’s so many variables of bethany and chrissy in this, that we don’t know whether that’s going to lead to, as you said, more upsets. Is it going to be somehow a leveling of the playing field, or will it be that the more experienced players like djokovic on the men’s side, because to get to where he is he’s, had to be adaptable? You have to be flexible. You have to adjust to all kinds of things or you don’t, win 17 majors right and it’s. The only one of the big three that’s here, maybe sort of his mental strength and his experience adapting i watched him practice. Look very sharp um. As you know, rusty already mentioned, but they’re also rested. Typically, you arrive at the u.s open right, your body is beating up your mind, might be a little frazzled after the long season, and i think everybody bet that you know better than i would just shows up a little fresher and who can knock off the rust And take advantage of that, i i’m just dying to get this thing going and see how it does play out see if it is less predictable.

I agree with chris about novak. I don’t think anything can get through him. You know i mean i, i think he you’d have to consider him still the heavy favorite in this tournament, because i mean mentally it’s scary. How focused that he is – and you mentioned something very important – you’ve got to be flexible because players are creatures of habit. They’Re used to x y z, everything in place, you know they have the routines, not gon na happen. You’Ve got to be flexible, um and you’ve got to be focused and you’ve got to manage. Manage yourself manage your energy um accordingly, and every day, when you get up, you’ve got to be excited to play a match because you can’t afford to have any down days. What interests me is that some players who might actually be helped by the lack of fans – i know chrissy mentioned earlier – you know not having to face a massive crowd if you’re new to it, but even players who’ve won matches. I just wonder if, in this environment, which is so different and so surreal, if it might help players who’ve gotten a little tight in some of these big stages. Might this be a better chance on the men’s side for a breakthrough for a guy like zverev or a sitzip, or maybe you see a guy like baratini, make a run where it actually has gotten in the way a little bit in the past, the crowd atmosphere.

You know you get intimidated playing not only on stage but also playing against an opponent, and especially if you’re playing somebody like serena in the crowd, the american crowd is 100 behind serena. You got that to contend with, so it it. It is um it it’s going to be it’s going to be interesting and i i really predict there’s just going to be. You know a lot of upsets okay, but guys let’s get a little bit into the women’s singles draw here. Uh. We want to talk about a few players: uh chrissy, you mentioned serena a little bit osaka being a past champion. How do you think she’ll handle this coco losing to osaka coco’s another one that really feeds off the crowd? I mean if we’ve watched some of her matches. She loves it even last year at us open how how awesome was it to watch all the energy she brought on the court yeah it’s a great opportunity for serena isn’t. It really it’s a great opportunity for her. I mean she, you know, i think, from watching her in lexington um, she looks fit and she looks. She looks leaner and she looked like she was moving well and she just she lost that match um. You know it was one or two points made the difference. She, if she would have won that match, maybe she would have won the tournament who knows, but i think she’s you you, you still have to kind of put her um serenader best is still going to be beat anybody.

I think um you talk about coco. You know she’s going to only get better and she’s going to have a lot of grand slam wins in her career i’m, just not sure at 16. Right now she can have those four big wins in a row: quarter: semi’s finals. You know six rounds 16. Whatever i think physically, her body is strong as she is for 16.. I don’t think that she can win this tournament um and you know naomi naomi’s, an unknown. I i haven’t seen her on the court, so it’s hard to s to say how she’s going to do, but maybe it’s going to be plishkava. Maybe she’s been looking for her first grand slam title. You know maybe it’s going to be her that’s, going to rise to the occasion yeah. That was another one, that i was thinking about, playing or even kvitava, who we know is capable of winning a grand slam. Hasn’T quite done it at us open mugaruza, making the finals earlier this year in australian open and what about kennen, i don’t know plain doubles with kevin, and i know she it doesn’t matter, what’s, going on around her she’s a gamer she’s an example to me: um Uh bethany and christie. If someone who brings her own focus and energy to the court, i don’t think she cares about the crap. The crowd may be against her for her. She doesn’t care, and i think that’s good polish is intriguing because she’s another one who’s gotten close, maybe the nerves have come into play.

Certainly, the nerves have come into play in some of these cases and maybe it’ll feel different for her without the crowd, and this might be what she needs to get that last little bit uh to raise her first trophy serena. Obviously, as you say, chrissy remains the intriguing one i don’t know i mean to me: the movement is still the key. As you know, you always tell me to watch defeat. Is she moving well enough laterally? Can she get a burst of adrenaline and in that area of her game, improve from what she has been in the tune up tournaments? I mean i’m eager to see that obviously it’d be an incredible storyline to have her make another run i’m going to mention actually uh jen brady for a second too, because she’s she’s been first of all, she started the year playing unbelievable and she’s been playing matches. Since the exhibition that we did in charleston, she was playing world team tennis like she has a lot of matches under her belt and now winning the tournament down in kentucky. I think she’s, coming in pretty hot to this u.s open bethany. We know jen from way back. I mean she was at my academy from for eight years. So you know the word out on on jennifer was tremendous talent. All the time you know had all the shots kind of played. Like a guy. You know big top spin moved well and it’s only the last few years that i think mentally she’s kind of gotten it together and i think college helped her.

You know i think that that going to ucla helped her. I think after college she came out, went on the pro circuit. All the coaches that she’s aligned herself with have been has been have been superb the last couple years, um she hasn’t been tested and she hasn’t come through in big events. Yet um you know, i i think that i have to say that i as much as lexington was such a great sign for her. You know, i think the next step would be. Okay, now now do that in a grand slam, so that to me is still still uncertain, would love nothing more than to see her? Do it she’s got everything but um, you know it’s all up to her and how she’s thinking up here, yeah and i think and here’s and chris you can talk about this too, but i think here’s, my stance on the veterans versus these young guns, because the Veterans, they have some experience, they know what this is all about, but at the same time, they’re really used to their routines. Their use of how us open is played. You have someone like kennen, like some of these yes dremska, who these young hungry players that might not care about the circumstances they don’t really know what all goes into the all those night matches over the years. They’Re just here to win – and i think it’s going to be a balance of maybe that young gun attitude is gon na win out over some of the vets if they get too attached to things not going their way and things being so different.

What do you think about that chris unknowable, but it’s? A good point. I mean who’s flexible, who’s adaptable. Maybe the less rigid patterns that you set for yourself and experience over the years might actually be a benefit. So i think you make a great point. I i think that you, you see, you know kennan breaking through and winning the only major title so far 2020, i think, would give people hope. Anyway, i mean she, she put it together made a run, and i think that if she can win it, you tell me and how many 25 women are thinking. Why not me why can’t i do that. How big is that mentality, though, if all of a sudden you have a few more girls saying i could do it. Why not me? I? I think that also put puts a lot of people in in contention for the title. You guys tell me because i’ve heard it said: we’ve talked about this. The last few women’s majors well 10 can win it 15. Women can win it. Maybe 20 could win it. If you went 20 deep in melbourne, i don’t even know if you put cannon in that number, so what’s the number. How many do you guys think are actual contenders to win the trophy i think, 20.. I i think, with everything going on, i think, you’re, adding a few more people into the equation. I think, as if you have a couple girls that are like you know what i’m feeling pretty good i’ve beaten this player in the past, i here’s my routine.

Like i’m i’m lumping some of those players that we haven’t maybe looked at in the past, to win this this title i think i think it’s possible and i’ve been around everyone practicing in the locker rooms, seeing how what the mentality is and i’ve i’ve been a Part of, like the routines of the tests of the hotel of the bubble, how we have to do everything it’s all different, and i think all of that combined it’s, a bigger list this year of who can win us open. I do think that, but i also, i also think that it’s still down to how many matches in a row you know, can these players win and that doesn’t change. I don’t think that changes that much. You know if, for a lower ranked player to to have to go through four top seeds, i think is still going to be tough, so i mean, i think i think you’re right, but i also think at the end of the day, um you know i i Just think exp, there is something to be said for experience too. Okay, so chris we’re not holding you to any specific number. We until you get your notes. I’M. I’M. More of the i’m sorry i’m, more, the 12 to 15 ish. At this point. Okay, all right! Um and so let’s let’s transition over a little bit to the men’s, who are some of the players that we should be watching out, for we have novak making the commitment to play.

We have team still looking for his first slam medvedev, who played unreal here yet last year. But again, how was it he was with the crowd. The crowd was against him and he played better so it’s i like i. They he somehow turned them around and played some unreal tennis. But tell me tell me your thoughts on the guys chris. I i think medvedev is one of the most interesting characters coming in bethany, because what you said about last year, he went from the the ultimate bad guy wrestler. You know basically poking the crab, then feeding off the negative energy then had them roaring for him. In that epic match, with nadal rafa one of the most popular players in the history of the sport they’re cheering for medvedev to make it a match. It was incredible the ovation that he got for the runner up trophy at the end of the tournament last year. Completing that arc he’s just he’s a compelling figure. I don’t think that he needs the crowd to to play his steady, consistent tennis, but i really think you, you sort of name the pack it’s sort of novak versus the pack, and the pack would be team medvedev that that that is sort of the pack of Four, i think that has the best chance to take him down. They’Ve all showed that um they can play on big stages. Just haven’t quite got up with the finish line team.

Coming really close. What about players like karen khachanov or rubalev, who have again gotten some big wins? You said hatching off that’s a i watched him practice. I mean just destroys the ball pummels the ball. But again, the question has been stability, consistency over best of five and that’s, something we have to talk about when you, oh right, you shift and handicap this men’s field. What’S different about this from the wta side of things is that you know they’re coming back rusty and many of them without very many matches and jumping right into best of five right so mentally and physically. You guys know way better than maybe you play practice sets you don’t play five practice sets at match intensity, so it’s gon na be uncharted territory, we’ve seen so many comebacks from two cents to love down in the majors in recent years. You wonder if that’s gon na be as prevalent now without the crowd to help turn a match around and and is a guy gon na believe in his fitness down. Two sets yeah it’s, a great point. I’Ve been, i didn’t even think about that, but it’s you and when you look at djokovic what about team? I mean team. You’Ve gone, you have faith in that he can last. You know he’s in great great shape, it’s. Just so interesting to me that the mental and the physical and how they’re tied together in the sport and how it might come into play in this weirdest of majors, where you know who’s, going to be able to dig deep when they’re down what seems like a Lost cause and try to turn it around, and are they even physically capable of doing that or is it going to place extra importance on winning the first set and getting a lead in matches? Are the fast starters going to have an edge both in the women’s side and the men’s side? Maybe you know summarizing, i think it’s it’s, almost like the men it’s going to be it kind of, is going to be more about the physical.

I mean you got to go again, seven matches three out of five sets and you haven’t been playing any tournaments. You know – and you haven’t had, that that practice so you’re it there’s, going to be more of a physical element than men’s and maybe a little bit more of the the mental element with the women and emotional, because you know we women get emotional, i don’t know I’Ve seen some of the guy, some of the guys show some of their emotions. I’M gon na i i’ve witnessed it so, but um are there any surprise players that you guys want to bring up that? Maybe we haven’t mentioned so far that have kind of been on your radar um that you think they’d have a good opportunity here. Well, on the men’s side you want to see like, like faa, feel like socialism, i maybe the younger players – i’m curious. You mentioned coco earlier, i guess on on the men’s side, the players that don’t have the years of tournament experience, who maybe could have benefited and developed quite a bit in this seven eight months, we’ve had off. How will they come out of this? Can they make the step forward in the practice court or away from match play, and i think that the tennis world has been waiting for faa to kind of show his extraordinary talent it’s still a question best of five. You know, but but someone like that, i still think hatching off’s a very dangerous dark horse.

Um yeah. I i think that probably there are far fewer men that you you’d say are capable of winning this, but i still think that they’re um, eight or ten. What we can say is that one. We are grateful that this u.s open is happening. That there’s gon na be some tennis on the way too there’s gon na be a lot of amazing matches from the first round on. I think we’re going to be ready for upsets we’re, going to be ready for players on fire we’re, going to be ready for players physically trying to like gut some matches out because they’re not used to playing. I think it’s really going to make for an exciting us open. I can tell you guys, are excited about it and i think that’s that’s. What you know we got to do. We got to bring the energy. The players got to do it. You guys got to do it from the booth, because it’s amazing, that tennis is back and – and this is the start of it – how about that pep talk? I love it bethany. I love it. I think the broadcasts are going to be interesting for fans because you don’t have the crowd to focus on um, so there’ll be a lot of close ups of players. You’Ll hear a lot more of what’s going on on the court, um we’re. Having a debate. Do we need to have the to bleep what’s going on? Do we need to delay, but i think it’s going to be, i think it’s going to be a good experience.

I’Ll just sell this as a product for the viewers yeah. You won’t have the roaring crowd, but it’s a grand slam. The players want to win the same way. They always do and i think you’re going to get a chance to see maybe a a increased sharpened focus on on their faces and the noise in the court. What it actually feels like when you don’t have the roar of the crowd it’ll, be it’ll, be interesting to see it’s going to be a very special victory for the man and woman who wins this because, under these extraordinary circumstances, it’s going to call upon a lot Of mental elements and emotional elements that may be not quite so intensely, you need it before they’re going to be reflecting not just on what they did in the seven matches to win it or what they’ve done on the court. But what they’ve gone through, as we all have as human beings and you’re right, it’s a great point to stand there and be the symbol of resilience and the symbol of adaptability and flexibility and no one’s going to care that the field was depleted. And to me this will never have an asterisk attached to the two champions if they, in any case they might deserve extra credit for going through what they’ve gone through to win these definitely i. I definitely think this u.s open you’re going to see a lot of emotions, especially when you get later in the tournament and or if you just even the first couple rounds.

You have some tight matches that maybe go the distance in the fifth or the third. I think you’re going to see some emotions from some players just from everything that’s been happening on a human level, so i think it’s really going to be an awesome, u.s open. I appreciate you guys coming on and chatting with me. I really enjoyed this.