British tennis star Emma Raducanu says her absence away from the game has made her even more hungry to succeed.
The 18-year-old thrashed Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1 in the third round of the US Open to make the last 16 of a second consecutive Grand Slam.
This comes after the teenager took almost 18 months away from competitive tennis during the height of the pandemic last year –– choosing to focus on her A-level studies instead of travelling to lower-level tournaments abroad.
Having returned at the Nottingham Open in June, Raducanu made a name for herself at Wimbledon –– garnering immense plaudits for her fearlessness and on-court temperament at such a young age.
And the Brit has continued to impress in New York, winning three qualifying games to reach the main draw and then cruising through the first three rounds without dropping a set.
In total, she has conceded just 12 games across three matches and beaten two top 50 players in the process. Her win against Tormo was even more outstanding given the Spaniard had defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty at the Olympics just last month.
Speaking in her post-match press conference after her win against Tormo, Raducanu admitted she had not fully got used to playing in front of big crowds yet, but has realised her “hunger” to win.
“Once you’re out there [at Grand Slams] you just want to keep going and stay as long as possible,” she said.
While other players on tour are beginning to struggle physically at the end of a gruelling season, Raducanu stressed that fitness isn’t a concern for her right now.
“I’m extremely fresh. I haven’t really played on tour for the whole entire year and this experience is all so new to me.”
After Raducanu’s emphatic victory, all eyes were on a mouth-watering fourth-round clash with Wimbledon champion Barty. However, the Australian lost in three sets to Shelby Rogers, ending her hopes of a first US Open title.
Rogers is ranked 43rd in the world –– two places lower than Sorribes Tormo, and Raducanu will feel she has a strong chance of reaching her first major quarter-final.
The match is likely to be on either the Louis Armstrong or Arthur Ashe Stadium, which means crowds even bigger than those she faced at Wimbledon. Rogers is American as well, which means for the first time so far in her career, Raducanu may not have the crowd on her side.
Either way, it promises to be another thriller.