Emma Raducanu plays down top seed status as first Upper Austria Ladies Linz match nears

British tennis star Emma Raducanu has played down her top seed ranking at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz as her opening match nears.

British tennis star Emma Raducanu has played down her top seed ranking at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz as her opening match nears.

The US Open winner broke into the world top 20 for the first time yesterday, and is now the highest ranked player in Linz.

She has subsequently been given the top seed at the WTA 250 event, with world number 22 Simona Halep the second seed.

Raducanu has been modest about her seeding, however.

“It’s cool but I haven’t really looked at seedings,” she said. “I never looked at seedings even when I was unranked, playing a seed in a tournament. It meant nothing to me so I’m sure it means nothing to the other players.

“It’s just as much motivation, if not more, to take out a seed.

“I just really want to have fun this week and try and enjoy it because it’s the last one of the season and I feel like I’m really in a positive mind space.”

The 18-year-old is scheduled to play qualifier Wang Xinyu in her opening match today. Wang is world number 106, but has appeared confident about her chances of beating Raducanu.

The Chinese star has already triumphed in two qualifying matches, before overcoming Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova in the first round.

“I’m happy that I get the chance to play her and I will just try to enjoy it and play my tennis,” Wang said.

“Girls’ tennis has always been not a huge gap between players that are in the top 20 or top 100, or even 150.

“I think it’s just a few matches that gives you confidence, I think everybody can play so there are no easy matches and everybody can win if you believe in yourself and believe in your shots.”

Back in England, Raducanu has been at the centre of a storm caused by comments from Eddie Jones, head coach of the England men’s rugby team.

Jones claimed Raducanu had been distracted by fame since her improbable US Open victory in September.

“There’s a reason why the girl who won the US Open hasn’t done so well afterwards,” he said. “What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper’s Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes.”

Emma Raducanu has said she will never be distracted by off-field commitments

Before Jones made his comments, Raducanu had already spoken out about her determination to not let off-court commitments affect her tennis career.

“I made it very, very clear to every single person in my team that I was not going to cancel one training session or practice session for any off-court commitments,” Raducanu said.

The teenage talent became the first qualifier, male or female, to earn a Grand Slam title at this year’s US Open.

She also became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade in 1977. Raducanu made history in style, not dropping a single set on her way to victory.

She has won two out of four matches since, recently losing to Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the quarter-finals of the Transylvania Open.

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