Emma Raducanu played down her chances of being a favourite to win the Australian Open in four months time following her victory at the most recent Grand Slam tournament.
The 18-year-old completed the seemingly-impossible when she won the US Open as a qualifier, failing to drop a set in three rounds of qualifying and seven main-draw matches.
The victory catapulted her to newfound levels of superstardom, as she became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam and the first player to lift the title on just their second appearance at a Major.
The Bromley local also shot up the rankings, sitting at world No 338 just three months ago and coming into the US Open at a then-career high of world No 150, before leaving as a top 25 player.
It means Raducanu, now up at No 22 in the world, will be seeded at the next Grand Slam tournament – the 2022 Australian Open – and receive the benefit of an easier draw, being unable to face fellow top seeds in the earlier rounds.
Although the British teenage sensation is now the player to beat, she has opened up on her own chances at the first Major of next season and admitted that she doesn’t see herself as a favourite.
“If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite,” she said, speaking at a Lawn Tennis Association event.
Although expectations will now be high for Raducanu, the newly-crowned US Open champion is still not focusing on getting wins, and is instead looking to learn and adjust to life on tour.
She continued: “I’m still so new to everything. I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in.
“That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”
The Australian Open is expected to have some form of quarantine for players arriving in the country ahead of the event, though plans have not been finalised.
Earlier this year, tournament personnel were required to complete a two-week hotel quarantine but players could leave for five hours each day to train, use the gym, get food and travel to-and-from these events.
However, those who ended up on charter flights with anyone who later tested positive endured a ‘hard’ quarantine and were unable to leave their respective hotel rooms for a full 14 days.
Another two-weeks hotel quarantine period is expected for those competing in 2022, though there are early ideas to have a ‘bubble’ between the official hotels and the tournament grounds, to allow players to use the facilities.
This could mean players having to travel over Christmas to complete their quarantine with enough time, something Raducanu says she would have no problem with.