Today I watched the remarkable men’s singles final of the 2020 U.S. Open, in which Dominic Thiem bested Alexander Zverev over five, nail-biting sets.

I was in New York for last year’s championship. Back then, I got to see Serena Williams beat Elina Svitolina in one of the women’s semi-finals (in Arthur Ashe Stadium), as well as the men’s doubles semi-final featuring Britain’s Jamie Murray and Neil Skupski (in Louis Armstrong Stadium).

The 2020 U.S. Open was a very different affair, played without spectators in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As recently as January, I had been in contact with the USTA about being present for the men’s final. I had hoped to give the 2020 men’s singles champion the chance to have his photo taken with Bill Tilden’s 1920 men’s champion’s trophy – 100 years-old this year – which I purchased from the benefactors of Tilden’s estate a few years ago. Such dreams evaporated with the coronavirus outbreak, although I’m optimistic a chance may present itself in the future.

I have to say I wanted Thiem to win. Having come so close to winning his first Grand Slam on three previous occasions, it seemed to me he deserved it.