Emma Raducanu: Can the British tennis star win the US Open?

Emma Raducanu at the US Open

If Emma Raducanu wasn’t already the future of British tennis after Wimbledon, she certainly is now.

The 18-year-old’s performance at the All England Club was impressive but not groundbreaking. There were clear signs of potential, but also question marks over her mental toughness and ability to cope with the pressure.

Fast forward a couple of months and having reached the last 16 again in just her second major, Raducanu has achieved a feat last accomplished by former world number one Jennifer Capriati.

How far can she go in New York? Surely there’s no suggestion that a teenager, ranked almost 400th in the world at the start of the year could end the season by winning the US Open?

Surely we’re not entertaining the idea that someone who didn’t play competitive tennis for 18 months to focus on her A-Levels can win a Grand Slam not long after returning to action?

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And surely there’s no way a qualifier for this competition, who was forced to win three matches to even make the main draw this year, could then win seven more on the bounce to become a major champion?

Well, as farfetched and absurd as it may sound, that’s exactly the belief of many who have watched the young Brit play across the past couple of weeks.

Because, though it is only the fourth round of the event, Raducanu has thrashed every opponent in her way so far. The British prodigy is yet to drop a set and has beaten two players in the top 50.

Her latest victory, which came against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, was perhaps the most outstanding performance by a Brit in a single Grand Slam match this millennium.

Tormo was one of the in-form players on tour and beat world number one Ashleigh Barty at the Olympics only last month.

Emma Raducanu

Yet, Raducanu was not fazed at all. And as she won 11 straight games and cruised to a 6-0 6-1 win, there was an unequivocal feeling that we were witnessing the birth of a star.

As Martina Navratilova said: “You see special when you see it for the first time. She’s [Raducanu] one of those people. It’s not hype, it’s real.”

Tim Henman echoed these thoughts when he spoke to GiveMeSport Women. The former British number one revealed that he, among others, had known of Raducanu’s talent for a while now.

“From people in the industry, we’ve known about Raducanu for eight or nine years. She’s been an outstanding junior so her rise hasn’t been quite as much of a surprise to us.”

And as she gets ready to face home favourite Shelby Rogers later on the Arthur Ashe court, there is no longer any doubt over her ability, her mindset or indeed her motivation.

Emma Raducanu

The Brit can beat anyone in the world on this evidence and given her current form, she might well do so.

Some will say it’s too early. That the script doesn’t write that easily –– that she’s not ready to compete with the very best just yet.

But they said the same in 2019 when a 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu stormed to victory at Flushing Meadows. They said the same when Iga Świątek won the 2020 French Open without dropping a set.

Both players are now in the world’s top 10, proving that rapid rises to the top of the women’s game are not uncommon.

So anything is possible this week. And with the likes of Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Barty all out, Raducanu has as much of a chance of winning as anyone else left in the tournament. So why not dare to dream. 

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