Emma Raducanu says she will commit to playing in next year’s Australian Open despite strict quarantine laws but has insisted she is not the favourite to win the tournament.
Raducanu made history at the US Open this year –– becoming the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam. Her historic victory saw her rise from 150th to 22nd in the world rankings, meaning she is likely to be seeded for the first major of next season.
The 18-year-old pulled out the Chicago Fall Classic which starts next week but could still seek a wildcard into the prestigious Indian Wells WTA event which begins on the 6th of October.
Entry into that competition would give the Brit a good chance of qualifying for the end of season WTA finals in Guadalajara, Mexico. The top eight players in the world this year qualify for the event and Raducanu is currently ranked 14th after her victory in New York.
While the teenager has quickly established herself as one of the world’s best players, she has brushed off suggestions that she is the one to beat at the Australian Open next year.
Speaking at a Lawn Tennis Association event to celebrate Britain’s US Open champions, the Brit said: “If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. I’m still so new to everything.
“I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in. That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”
Despite not dropping a set in 10 matches at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu did not play a single player inside the world’s top 10. Indeed, her highest-ranked opponent was Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic, who was 12th at the time.
The young star is therefore keen to prove herself against the likes of Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty.
“I’m hungry to play anyone and I think that would be a really cool challenge,” she stressed.
“I like to challenge myself and obviously it’s going to be extremely difficult to beat a top-10 player or a player of that quality but I’m up for it and, even if I lose, I think it’d be a great learning [opportunity] just to compare where I’m at to where the best in the world are. So either way for me it would be a win-win.”
Details of the 2022 Australian Open are yet to be revealed, but given the heavy restrictions imposed in the country at the moment, there is a chance players may be forced to quarantine, which would mean travelling over Christmas.
Raducanu is adamant she will do whatever is necessary to play, however, and has no problems with making such a sacrifice.
“Whatever needs to be done to be able to play the Australian Open, I’ll do. To me it’s not even a thought or like a battle in my mind. I just want to be at the Australian Open, and I want to compete there, so, whatever it takes to do, I’ll go.”News Now - Sport News