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Introducing Emma Raducanu – the British sensation
One of the biggest stories of the tennis tour this year was Emma Raducanu coming through qualifying to win the US Open. Amazingly, her first Grand Slam was at Wimbledon earlier this year, where she reached the fourth round. At that time, she was sitting outside of the top 300 on the WTA Tour. Fast forward to the US Open, her ranking had climbed high enough to be in the qualifying draw. Little did we know what lay in store for the tennis world at that point!
Raducanu went on to win the entire thing without losing a single set. This made her the only player in the Open Era to actually take home a Grand Slam title after coming through qualifying. It also gave her the record of winning a Slam in the fewest number of attempts – just two! Naturally, this has caused quite a stir in the tennis world, and people are asking whether this was just a fluke or whether we really could be in for something special.
I’ve shared my thoughts on this below.
Is the hype legitimate?
Winning a Grand Slam at 18 years of age is something that cannot be ignored, especially given the manner in which it was done. So, in my opinion, yes, the hype is legitimate. I believe this to be the case for a number of reasons:
Having watched her play at the US Open, I was seriously impressed with her style and execution. She can control the play from the back of the court, she’s comfortable with long rallies, and she can easily pull the trigger when she needs to. This is especially true with her backhand down the line, although she is pretty good at opening up the court from the forehand wing too.
But for me, I love how she is able to mix things up by coming to the net and using a slice backhand when needed – something that not many WTA players do effectively.
Again referencing the US Open here, people were constantly thinking when she would get overwhelmed by the occasion. I must admit, I feared this at the quarter-final stage, the semi-final stage, and definitely in the final. However, she took everything in her stride, and she was amazingly positive throughout, even in the face of adversity.
This is something that is absolutely essential for winning multiple competitions, particularly at the Grand Slam level.
Time of her rise to form
The final reason has slid under the radar for many tennis pundits to date. But for me, this cannot be overlooked. She has broken through at a time where the women’s game isn’t really dominated by one or two individuals. Just take this year as an example, all 4 Grand Slams were won by different people. In contrast, on the men’s side, Djokovic won 3 out of the 4.
Therefore, I believe that there is a big gap in the women’s game for a superstar like Raducanu to break through and take the tour by storm.