In a way, this year’s Western & Southern Open and US Open have been the debut of “Hotel Lockdown”. Players competing in the New York bubble are always at one of two places: the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center or their hotel.
But the athletes have certainly found ways to stay busy, even without being able to explore Manhattan or frequent restaurants.
“I’m usually watching NBA matches here,” 2019 US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev said. “Almost all the time I was watching Washington, but they lost quite fast. I came here, I saw just two matches.”
Reilly Opelka enjoyed one of the best runs of his young career at the Western & Southern Open, reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. The American believes his countrymen benefitted from having NBA and NHL playoffs to watch during their downtime. Opelka, who lost in the first round of the US Open against seventh seed David Goffin, spent many of his bus rides to and from the venue watching basketball on his phone.
“The NBA playoffs helped a lot, giving us some things to do. I’d say that’s the biggest advantage for U.S. players. We might have a few more things outside of tennis to do,” Opelka said. “ Isner for example loves hockey. He glued to the hockey games…
A small group of Americans performed together – albeit separately – in the bubble. The players include Fritz, Tommy Paul, Mackenzie McDonald, and Marcos Giron.
“I brought the PlayStation 4. I usually travel with it. It’s a fun way to disconnect and socialize with my girlfriend and friends back home, ”said Giron, who qualified for the second round. “The PS4 has been especially great in the bubble because we can’t explore the city like we normally can. A few of us have played “Fall Guys” and Fritz is a beast at the game. Of the group, Fritz is certainly the strongest on the sticks.