Emma Raducanu: British teen wins US Open
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Emma Raducanu has been given a lengthy timeframe to settle into life on tour and eventually win more majors. The world No 12 stunned the sporting world when she won the US Open as an 18-year-old qualifier but former British No 1 Andrew Castle believes it could be a long time before she contends for more Grand Slam titles.
Raducanu became an overnight sensation back in September when she won the US Open as a qualifier ranked down at world No 150.
Aged just 18 at the time, the Bromley local became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam title, and did so without dropping a set through ten matches in just her fourth appearance at professional tour level.
Raducanu’s historic victory saw her skyrocket into the world’s top 25 and she now sits at a career high of world No 12, with no points to defend on the WTA Tour until Wimbledon in June.
While she continues to progress through the ranks, one former British No 1 has admitted he can’t see the 19-year-old winning another Grand Slam title any time soon, and given her a timeframe before she establishes herself on the tour.
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“I still can’t get over the fact of where she has come from and where she is now and how quickly it has all happened,” Andrew Castle told Tennis365.
“Now those of us in the game are saying hold your horses, you are unlikely to see her winning another Grand Slam any time soon.”
The 58-year-old who reached a career-high of world No 80 during his playing career also thought the US Open champion needed several years to get used to the gruelling month-in, month-out schedule on the WTA Tour, adding: “She is going to need two or three years to build into being a regular WTA Tour player.”
But Castle was complimentary of Raducanu, admitting he was still in disbelief at her feat in New York and backing her against those who were already writing the teenager off.
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“I know she won the US Open without losing a set, ten matches, coming through qualifying and it is remarkable. That was an illustration of talent and it was almost an aberration, some madness that she went ahead and won that,” he continued.
“So to ask people to be patient (with her) now, I don’t think they really understand. So people will write her off if she goes out in the first or second round of events and that’s what she will do. That is life on tour. Even the world No 1 loses matches.”
Explaining why Raducanu needed time to adjust, Castle also said: “It’s just a question of waiting and allowing her to gain and gather experience. Also to adjust to what is pretty rarified air. She can’t go and do anything like she used to.
“You are doing your A levels one minute and no one has heard of you and now you have money, glory and fame instantly. I’m not feeling sorry for her, but it’s a major test.”
While he couldn’t see Raducanu contending for another major in the near future, the former player-turned-pundit did think there was more Grand Slam glory to come later on, comparing the world No 12 to the likes of Tiger Woods and Pete Sampras.
“Surround yourself with good people and hit tennis balls because ultimately, it will come down to that,” he explained.
“She hits the ball fantastically well. Her movement is difference. Her slowness when she needs it and then the pop through the ball is quite rare.
“That kind of slowness and then that weight through the ball, Sampras used to have that. I used to practice with him and the way he hit the ball was like a sledgehammer hitting you. It was different to others.
“It’s that Tiger Woods thing. Popping balls out of the middle and Emma has that.”
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