Anett Kontaveit is guaranteed a frenzied atmosphere in her next outing at Flushing Meadows against Serena Williams but rather than being nervous about it, the second-seeded Estonian said she cannot wait for the “unique experience”.
With the 40-year-old Williams indicating the US Open could be the final event of her storied career, the hardcourt Grand Slam set an all-time night-session attendance record on Monday with 29 402 flocking to the sprawling site.
The 23-time major winner ensured that the celebrations will continue at least for some time, defeating Dank Kovinic 6-3 6-3 in front of a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, teeming with celebrities and her fellow players.
Flushing Meadows is expected to be similarly boisterous on Wednesday with the same level of energy in the stands when Williams meets Kontaveit.
“I’m really excited. I was really rooting for her to win today,” Kontaveit told reporters after her 6-3 6-0 victory over Romania’s Jaqueline Cristian. “I’ve never played against her. I mean, this is the last chance. Better late than never.
“I think the atmosphere is going to be amazing. I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be one of those matches this year that … I just have no pressure on me. I’ll just get to enjoy and play as good as I can on the day.”
The match could be the final singles outing for American Williams and Kontaveit promised to give her best against the “greatest player of all time”.
“I just remember her always fighting, her always fist-pumping, always being so intense on the court, which I think is great. The matches are so competitive. She’s just always there. She’s always fighting. She’s always giving 100%,” she added.
“I’m just going to take it as a real unique experience. I’m not sure if I’ll ever experience something like this again.”