Raducanu rubbishes Aus Open favourite tag: ‘I’m still so new’

Emma Raducanu: “If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. 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”

Last Updated: 25/09/21 11:37pm

Emma Raducanu has shrugged off talk she could be among the favourites in Melbourne Emma Raducanu has shrugged off talk she could be among the favourites in Melbourne

Emma Raducanu has shrugged off talk she could be among the favourites in Melbourne

Emma Raducanu has dismissed suggestions she could be among the favourites to win the Australian Open following her unprecedented US Open victory.

The 18-year-old returned to training in London this week as she turns her attention to building on her spectacular grand slam breakthrough victory earlier this month.

The teenager has moved up to No. 22 in the world and parted company with her coach Andrew Richardson this week in search of a more experienced mentor as she targets future success.

Raducanu is yet to announce when she will play next but must decide in the coming days whether to request a wild card into the prestigious WTA Tour event in Indian Wells beginning on October 6.

Emma Raducanu is confident she can compete with the best tennis players in the world on a regular basis following her US Open triumph.

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Emma Raducanu is confident she can compete with the best tennis players in the world on a regular basis following her US Open triumph.

Emma Raducanu is confident she can compete with the best tennis players in the world on a regular basis following her US Open triumph.

A strong pre-season is one of Raducanu’s top priorities, after which she will play in just her third grand slam tournament in Melbourne.

Speaking at a Lawn Tennis Association event to celebrate Britain’s US Open champions, Raducanu said: “If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. 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.”

Emma Raducanu's remarkable US Open title as a qualifier is a 'huge opportunity' to grow tennis at the grassroots level and encourage more girls to play the sport, says Judy Murray.

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Emma Raducanu’s remarkable US Open title as a qualifier is a ‘huge opportunity’ to grow tennis at the grassroots level and encourage more girls to play the sport, says Judy Murray.

Emma Raducanu’s remarkable US Open title as a qualifier is a ‘huge opportunity’ to grow tennis at the grassroots level and encourage more girls to play the sport, says Judy Murray.

Organisers are yet to announce plans for the Australian Open but, with entry to the country still heavily restricted and Melbourne having been in lockdown for longer than any other city in the world, players will likely undergo some form of quarantine.

That could mean players having to travel over Christmas, which Raducanu would have no problem with.

She said: “Whatever needs to be done to be able to play the Australian Open, I’ll do. To me it’s not even a thought or like a battle in my mind.

“I just want to be at the Australian Open, and I want to compete there, so, whatever it takes to do, I’ll go.”

Unlike Leylah Fernandez, her final opponent in New York, Raducanu did not have to beat a top-10 player at Flushing Meadows, with then world No 12 Belinda Bencic the highest-ranked player she has faced in her career so far.

The teenager is eager to test herself against the likes of Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka, saying: “I’m hungry to play anyone and I think that would be a really cool challenge.

“I like to challenge myself and obviously it’s going to be extremely difficult to beat a top-10 player or a player of that quality but I’m up for it and, even if I lose, I think it’d be a great learning (opportunity) just to compare where I’m at to where the best in the world are. So either way for me it would be a win-win.”

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