Emma Raducanu: British teen wins US Open
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Greg Rusedski has called for the tennis world to give Emma Raducanu “time” ahead of her first full year on the WTA Tour. The young Brit made history earlier this year as the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title, lifting the US Open trophy in just her fourth professional tournament while ranked down at world No 150. Former British No 1 Rusedski compared her breakthrough to that of ATP tennis legend Pete Sampras, and gave a time frame for the teenager to adjust.
Raducanu achieved the seemingly-impossible at the US Open back in September.
Then-18-years-old, she entered the qualifying event in Flushing Meadows and proceeded to win ten matches in a row across the qualifying rounds and main draw without dropping a set, making her the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title when she ended her time at the US Open as the champion.
Ranked down at a then-career high of world No 150 when she came to New York, she left as a top 25 player and the first woman in history to win the title on her second appearance at Major level.
Since then, the Bromley local has played just three tournaments before her unprecedented breakout season came to an end.
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She made an unsuccessful return to the match court in Indian Wells – her first tournament after winning the US Open – where she lost to world No 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round, having received an opening-round bye.
The year-end world No 19 then won her first match on the WTA Tour in what was also her first-ever three-setter at professional level, defeating Polona Hercog in her opening match at the Transylvania Open, and followed it up with a victory over Ana Bogdan to make the quarter-final, where she lost to Marta Kostyuk.
Her season then ended in Linz with a narrow defeat to qualifier and world No 106 Wang Xinyu, who defeated the top seed 6-1 6-7(0) 7-5.
Now, fellow Brit Greg Rusedski has called on the tennis world to give Raducanu time to adjust to life on the pro tour, following her rapid rise up the rankings.
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“As I said when she won the US Open, give her nine months to 18 months to adjust,” the former world No 4 said, speaking exclusively to Express Sport.
“I remember a young player by the name of Pete Sampras at 19 who won the US Open out of nowhere and nobody really knew who this kid was. It took him a good nine months to adjust to being in that situation.
“And I think with Emma, let’s not forget she hadn’t even won a match on the WTA Tour until a few weeks after the US Open, her second event, so everything’s new.”
Rusedski, who himself made it to the US Open final back in 1997, thought Raducanu was well-equipped to start getting used to her new life as a household name and mainstay on the pro tour, thanks to her appointment of new coach Torben Beltz.
He continued: “The positive news for her though, she’s hired a coach who’s worked with Kerber, who’s a multiple Grand Slam champion and world No 1.
“So I think adjusting to all the demands, all the hype, all that stuff, and making sure she has her team solid. It seems like that’s in place now, so this off-season is going to be important, and I think she’ll adjust.”
The retired pro-turned-pundit on Prime Video also reminded people of Raducanu’s age, and commended her for handling her overnight fame so well.
“Well let’s not forget I mean she’s just turned 19 years of age, what are most 19-year-olds doing around the world?” he laughed.
“You’ve got to look at it, she’s put all this spotlight on herself because of her brilliance as a tennis player but she’s got to mature into the person she wants to become, and on top of that she’s got to be comfortable because it’s a whirlwind almost being unknown to probably being a global superstar.
“It’s a big transition but I think something she’s smart enough to handle. And if she’s well-managed and she puts a team around her that’s consistent for a long period of time, there’s no question she’s going to have fantastic success.”
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