This year's US Open has been held amid very different circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic but the US Tennis Association put on what passed superbly as an authentic Grand Slam.
The safety measures on show may see the long-term future of line judges thrown into doubt, with just 74 of them used at the tournament, and the absence of crowds at Flushing Meadows saw tennis notably suffer.
Sportsmail's MIKE DICKSON takes a look at some of the things we have learned from this year's tournament.
This year's US Open was held amid unfamiliar circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic
The US Tennis Association put on what has passed superbly as an authentic Grand Slam event
It was right to try and keep the show on the road
When Frenchman Benoit Paire tested positive on the eve of the tournament you feared chaos for the next two weeks. Yet the ‘bubble’ just about held under the most difficult of circumstances.
There were some draconian measures, conflicts with different health authorities and, as with all things Covid, some inconsistencies. A few of the affected players were right to feel aggrieved. Yet the challenge of trying to put on an event of such an international nature – keeping more than 300 players and their entourages safe, not to mention the army of officials and assorted staff – should not be underestimated.
They pulled off what passed for an authentic Grand Slam. Not a phrase that always gets trumpeted but here goes: 'Well done to the US Tennis Association'.
Chaos was feared by many when Benoit Paire had tested positive on the eve of the tournament
The long-term future of line judges is under threat
Covid protection measures saw fully automated line calling on the outside courts and only 74 line judges were used. One of them became a central part of l’affaire Djokovic.
There is, of course, greater accuracy using Hawkeye and the players naturally like that idea, although it is still capable of fractional misjudgements. Momentum will inevitably build to try and eliminate human error.
Yet the cost of this would be heavy. Tennis needs all the human element it can get in a highly competitive sports market, especially at a time when some of its most marketable names will soon be fading away. And what effect will it have on vital grass roots recruitment of officials, if the ladder to work at the biggest events is suddenly pulled away?
Just 74 line judges were used with fully automated Covid-19 protection measures in place
It is not the same without crowds
In the current sporting half-life that prevails nothing puts more of a dampener on watching than the absence of atmosphere. This is true of all sports, but tennis suffers more than most because the crowd is so often visible and very much part of the show.
There was the odd upside, such as being able to hear sounds and mutterings on court from the players that you are not used to. Microphones picking up the sound of Serena Williams’s heavy breathing after a long rally would be an example.
Yet so many times, during the many exciting contests that were played out, you were left wondering what it would have been like if a crowd had got involved. The fans are needed back as soon as possible.
The fans are needed back at events as soon as possible with tennis