GMB: Greg Rusedski defends Emma Raducanu
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Emma Raducanu has given her view on the challenges she and other young tennis players face. The 19-year-old became an overnight superstar in September, when she made history by winning the US Open as a qualifier.
Raducanu made a name for herself at just 18-years-old, when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam title.
Ranked at a then-career high of world No 150, the Bromley teenager arrived in New York for the US Open qualifying event, fresh off the back of her first Challenger-level final in Chicago.
She came through three qualifying rounds without dropping a set, before facing a last-minute change of opponent in her first-ever US Open main draw match when her initial opponent Jenny Brady withdrew with an injury and was replaced by lucky loser Stefanie Voegele.
But Raducanu wasn’t thrown by the change in opponent, instead going on to win her seven main draw matches in straight sets, beating the likes of Olympic champion Belinda Bencic en route to becoming the US Open champion.
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The Brit became a household name almost overnight after beating Leylah Annie Fernandez in the first all-teenage US Open women’s singles final since 1999.
Not only did the victory make Raducanu the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Major, she was also the first woman to lift the title on just her second appearance at Grand Slam level.
In the weeks following her unprecedented triumph, Raducanu became a brand ambassador for Dior, Tiffany & Co., British Airways and Evian, while expectations on her performance at tournaments rose massively.
Having skyrocketed into the top 25 after winning the title in New York, Raducanu is now up to a new career-high of world No 13 and has since shared the biggest problem she feels herself and her fellow young pro players face.
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“I think that the challenge that younger players may face is getting disheartened by a few losses in a row – that’s not something that every successful tennis player has gone through,” the 19-year-old told Glamour magazine.
Raducanu has already proven her ability to bounce back after some losses, starting her 2022 season with a 6-0 6-1 defeat to Elena Rybakina in Sydney before defeating 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open just a week later.
And the US Open champion offered some advice to other young players struggling with defeat, adding: “But it’s important to keep strong and stay in your own lane really, and kind of zone out from what everyone else may think or say, and just keep believing in yourself.”
The world No 13 said she followed the advice herself, and explained the reason she was able to let losses go.
“It doesn’t matter what level you’re at – if you keep losing a few matches, it can be easy to get disheartened, but personally I just know that I’m doing the right things.
“I trust myself – and that everything will come together in the end.”
And she will be hoping to bounce back from a loss once again, after suffering blistering during her Aussie Open second round defeat to Danka Kovinic, in which Raducanu couldn’t even hold her racket, serve or hit forehands properly.
The world No 13 is making her debut in Mexico later this month, where she will be the top seed in Guadalajara.
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