PARIS (Reuters) – Having played at the U.S. Open in an empty stadium, Petra Kvitova believes that the presence of 1,000 spectators a day at the French Open does not make any difference for the players.
The former world number two advanced to the third round at Roland Garros with a 6-3 6-3 victory against Italian Jasmine Paolini on an almost deserted court Simonne Mathieu on Thursday.
The tournament usually welcomes about 40,000 fans a day but amid the COVID-19 crisis the number that would be allowed initially fell to 20,000, 11,500, 5,000 and finally 1,000.
“To be honest, we really had a great school in the U.S. Open. (It) is always so crowded and suddenly it was so quiet,” seventh seed Kvitova said of the atmosphere at Flushing Meadows.
“For me to be here and playing, it’s okay. I didn’t really think about it. I know some spectators are here but, I mean, of course you don’t really see them and hear them. It’s really like almost playing without them,” the Czech added.
“I mean, that’s the experience I have from New York. It’s really something totally okay and I don’t really think about it at all.”
Kvitova, a semi-finalist here in 2012, next plays Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)