Serena Williams’ third-round opponent, Ajla Tomljanovic, has not been too fond of the excessive cheers the tennis legend has been getting in her run at the U.S. Open so far.
The 27-year-old Australian said she played her first two rounds on Court 7, which is a good distance away from Arthur Ashe Stadium, during both of Williams’ wins.
“I kept thinking, ‘Oh my God, that's annoying me and I'm not even playing against her,’” Tomljanovic said on Wednesday. “I don't know how I'm going to do it.”
On Monday, Williams’ match set an all-time night-session attendance record with 29,402 fans coming to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with her fans, dubbed “Rena’s Army,” cheering on the 23-time Grand Slam champion every single point.
Tomjljanovic says she has a few ways to deal with the New York crowd against her, one tip that was recommended by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
“I remember Novak saying one time when they asked him a lot about this, when the crowd was against him, he just pretends it's for him. When they chant, I don't know, Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), whoever, he hears Novak, Novak,” Tomjljanovic said. “I kind of liked that response. I might use that on Friday night.
Another method the world No. 46 said she will be using is meditation “all day.”
“... When the crowd gets involved, that's what it can get to you,” she said. “But I think if I just stay within my little bubble, have my corner that I go to when I need help just for support, block it out as much as I can, I think all my meditation that I do here and there, I'm going to try to just meditate all day tomorrow.”
Williams and Tomjljanovic are set to face off for the first time on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.