Emma Raducanu needs one thing to achieve successful 2022 – and it’s not a Grand Slam

Emma Raducanu: British teen wins US Open

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Emma Raducanu is currently preparing for her first full season on the pro tennis tour. The Bromley teenager made history in September when she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam at the US Open, skyrocketing from outside the world’s top 300 into the top 20 in just a matter of months. After her breakout season, former British No 1 Greg Rusedski has given his verdict on what a successful 2022 would look like for the US Open champion, and admitted it had nothing to do with winning another Major title.

Raducanu became an overnight household name when she won the US Open back in September.

At just 18 years old she came to New York ranked at a then-career high of world No 150 to compete in the qualifying event, and came through three qualifying rounds and seven main-draw matches without dropping a set to end her three-week journey as a Major champion.

Not only did the young Brit become the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam, she also became the first woman to lift the title on just her second appearance at Major level.

The win propelled her into the world’s top 25, and she has now ended the year inside the top 20, sitting at No 19.

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Raducanu is now completing her first ever pre-season with the help of new coach, Torben Beltz.

The 19-year-old is gearing up for her ‘sophomore season’ – her second year playing pro events and her first completing the season from start to finish.

Despite her rapid rise this year, Raducanu played just seven tour-level events – the first seven of her career – so a full season of pro tournaments will be new ground for the Bromley local.

She had already tasted some Grand Slam success at Wimbledon, where she earned a last-minute upgraded wildcard from the qualifying to the main draw while ranked down at world No 338, and stormed to the second week in her first-ever Major.

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Having achieved so much at the top level of tennis so quickly, many will be looking to see if the world No 19 can repeat her success at Grand Slam level, but one retired pro believes a successful 2022 season for Raducanu has nothing to do with titles.

Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, former world No 4 Greg Rusedski said: “I think a good season for Emma would be finishing the year in the top 10 in the world, and then moving on from there.”

The 1997 US Open finalist also tipped the teenager to win more Grand Slam titles later in her career, and said she didn’t need to pick up more next season to prove her worth.

“So she has some good runs in the Majors, even if she doesn’t win one, she will win another Major in time. If it’s not in 2022, it’ll be in 2023,” he continued.

“She’s too good of a player not to have a great career and go from strength to strength. So just give her a little bit of slack I’d say, and she will be around for the next decade.

“Because what she’s accomplished, nobody’s ever accomplished in our sport. Come through qualifying to win.”

The former pro-turned-Prime Video pundit also noted that Raducanu had managed to achieve a feat only accomplished by legends of the sport, proving to be a good omen for the teenager’s future career.

Rusedski added: “And in her first two Majors, to get to the fourth round in both of them or better, only three players in the women’s history have done that – Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Chrissie Evert.

“All No 1s and all multiple Slam winners, so she’s in a great category of pedigree there being the fourth woman to do so.”

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