Loud crowds on the side courts are a feature of the US Open, and players are enjoying having them back following a hiatus in 2020, when the tournament was played with no fans.

The first few rounds have produced lots of high-quality contests, and stands have been packed for five-setters, Americans, and fan favorites including young newcomers and veterans.

Reilly Opelka, who defeated Lorenzo Musetti for a third-round spot, has liked having local crowds cheering for him -- and some for his opponent.

"Yeah, it was great," he said. "Court 17 is awesome. It's very intimate. Yeah, I thought the crowd was great. Musetti had some great support. I think that's more fun that way - you know, it's cool an Italian kid, and even when I played Soonwoo [Kwon], played a Korean kid, one Korean guy in the draw from a far, far part of the world from here, and he had a nice fan base there.

"It's not like so crazy all on one guy. Sometimes when you do that, like when I played in other places, it's sometimes can cross a line of disrespect, but I think the U.S. crowd does a pretty good job. I think that's fun."

Gael Monfils agreed, noting he's played better as fans have begun reappearing at events.


"When there's a crowd, it's incredible," said the Frenchman.

"When there's a crowd, it's incredible," said the Frenchman.

"When there's a crowd, it's incredible," said the Frenchman, whose exciting play has given him an established backing at Flushing Meadows. "It's a crazy atmosphere. Even playing an American, it's wild. When your play is less good, it lifts you up, gives you energy. These contests with no crowd, it's hard.

"I hope it carries on, becomes more and more normal. I started winning again when we had people."

Teenager Emma Raducanu, playing her first US Open, has also got a big reception on the side courts.

"Honestly, it's taken me a bit by surprise," she said. "Of course I really want to connect with the fans because they're doing so much for me, getting me through some really tight moments."

The tournament is allowing full-capacity crowds on the grounds.