British sensation Emma Raducanu will make her US Open debut tomorrow but former world number four Tim Henman has urged fans to “stay patient.”
The 18-year-old announced herself at Wimbledon earlier this year after reaching the fourth round and has backed this up with a number of solid displays on hard courts. Ahead of this competition, Raducanu has emerged victorious in 11 of her last 14 matches on hard courts and won three qualifier ties to reach the main draw.
These results suggest her Wimbledon run was by no means a fluke and Britain could well be looking at a future star in the making. Indeed, Henman stressed how he has no concerns over her future and has known of her talent for a long time.
“From people in the industry, we’ve known about Raducanu for eight or nine years,” he told GiveMeSport Women. “She’s been an outstanding junior so her rise hasn’t been quite as much of a surprise to us.”
Following Raducanu’s success at Wimbledon, it was unclear when we might see her at a major tournament again, but the teenager breezed through qualifying along with compatriots Harriet Dart and Katie Boulter.
The world number 150 thrashed Egypt’s Mayar Sherif 6-1 6-4 and Henman praised the Brit’s all-around game.
“In terms of her tennis ability, her technique, her athletic ability and competitive spirit are excellent and I’m delighted she’s playing so well on hard courts.”
However, the former British number one also emphasised the importance of not putting too much pressure on Raducanu. While the 18-year-old has a lot of potential, this is still just her second Grand Slam appearance and even qualifying for the main draw is an achievement in itself.
“I think the most important thing is for everyone to stay patient. She’s still only 18. There’s going to be bumps in the road, they’ll be ups and downs, but she’s got a massively bright future moving forward.”
Raducanu faces a tough opening match at Flushing Meadows against 13th seed Jennifer Brady. The American reached the last four in 2020 and finished as the runner-up at the Australian Open earlier this season.
The Brit will, therefore, start as a huge underdog tomorrow in front of a US audience. Yet, Raducanu proved she is capable of pulling off an upset at Wimbledon and there is no reason why she can’t do the same again.
The US Open is available to watch live exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from Monday 30th August through to Sunday 12 September