Emma Raducanu: Tim Henman has some words of warning for US Open champion

Emma Raducanu, Tim Henman

Few people have been more vocally supportive of Emma Raducanu than Tim Henman.

As the teenage qualifier took centre-stage on Arthur Ashe at the US Open last month, the former British number one watched all the action unfold courtside –– barely able to contain his excitement.

Henman did little to hide his emotion and a snapshot of him pointing at the 18-year-old as she collapsed to the ground in joy has given rise to countless memes on social media.

Raducanu even joked that Henman had essentially become a part of her team. On the court, she regularly looked over to the British tennis icon for support as if he were her mentor.

The 47-year-old is not just a new Raducanu fanatic like many of us, however. Even before her US Open heroics, Henman spoke to GiveMeSport Women about her potential to be a star and how he’d been following the youngster for some time.

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“People within the industry have known about Raducanu for eight or nine years,” he said back in August. “She’s been an outstanding junior so I don’t think it was quite such a surprise to see her do well [at Wimbledon.]”

“Her level of play, her technique, her athletic ability and her competitive spirit are excellent so I’m delighted she’s playing so well and I’ve got no concerns around the corner about her future.”

Henman also stressed back then how important it was not to put too much pressure on the teenager. While Raducanu is now a Grand Slam champion, she is still incredibly young and has limited tour experience.

Indeed, her recent second-round loss at Indian Wells epitomises what Henman forewarned. There will be setbacks and low points, but they are all part of the journey.

“I think the most important thing for everyone is to stay patient,” Henman exemplified. “She’s 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.”

Tim Henman

The six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist isn’t worried about Raducanu’s lack of coach right now either. Speaking to the Guardian, Henman said there is plenty of time to decide on a permanent appointment, especially with all of this year’s majors already finished.

“She hasn’t put a coach in place now and she’ll have plenty of time for that at the end of the year, whenever the competitive tennis year finishes. It probably gives her most of November and all of December to really think about that. That’s important as there’s been so much going on in her world.”

Though Raducanu may be tennis’ new shining light, Cameron Norrie’s victory at Indian Wells is further proof that British tennis is headed in the right direction.

Emma Raducanu

For Henman though, the key has always been looking beyond one or two individuals and assembling a plethora of capable stars who can help set a benchmark.

“For me, the challenge has always been strength in depth. It would be great if we had three or four in each age group that were pushing through onto the world stage because then you get that healthy competition and the players can push each other along.”

Henman was speaking to GiveMeSport Women on behalf of Amazon Prime. To watch exclusive coverage of the ATP and WTA tours, check out Prime Video here

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