Annabel Croft: Not many people could 'keep up with' Raducanu
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Emma Raducanu has gone from A Level student and world No 338 to US Open champion and world No 23 in a matter of months. On Saturday (September 11), the 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam and has become one of the biggest new names in the sporting world since. Having previously played just three tour-level events prior to the US Open and needing wild cards to enter, the Bromley local will now be able to compete in even the highest-level tournaments through her ranking and has touched on what’s next after her historic win.
Raducanu arrived in New York ranked at what was then a career-high of world No 150.
She had played just three official tour-level events prior to the US Open – the WTA 250 in Nottingham where she lost in the first round, Wimbledon where she made it to week two before retiring, and the WTA 250 in San Jose where she once again suffered an opening-round defeat.
The British teenage sensation then entered US Open qualifying fresh off the back of her first WTA 125k series final in Chicago, and in just three weeks became a household name when she failed to drop a set in three qualifying matches and seven main-draw matches en route to winning the title.
The historic triumph has seen her become an overnight celebrity in her own right, surpassing the previous biggest name in British tennis – Andy Murray – on Instagram after reaching 1.8m followers and counting, having been at 400k before the US Open began.
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Raducanu is already one of the biggest sporting names, scoring a last-minute invite to the Met Gala, while the likes of Jurgen Klopp have announced they will be watching more women’s tennis after seeing the 18-year-old’s unprecedented run.
The question on everyone’s lips since she lifted the trophy has been the same – what’s next?
From her future tournaments, to her upcoming training schedule, to the potential media appearances and brand deals, the tennis world is waiting with baited breath to see how the teenage sensation responds to her newfound success.
The new world No 23 has now lifted the lid on her post-US Open plans, revealing she will be completely “switching off” from tennis before making an eventual return to practice.
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“I think after the US Open I wanted to give myself this week to completely switch off from tennis because it’s been an extremely intense but rewarding seven weeks,” Raducanu told the WTA Insider.
“But I’ve worked very hard to finish on such a high with the US Open, a whole week off was needed.”
The teenager came to the States for the North American hard court swing at the end of July, playing in the WTA 250 in San Jose, the ITF USA 16A and the Chicago Challenger before spending three weeks at Flushing Meadows.
While the newly-crowned champion is giving herself some much-needed rest, it will be short-lived as she plans to get straight back to training from next week.
Raducanu continued: “I know I’ll get back to work probably Monday or early next week to get back to training again.”
While she is now able to gain direct entry into any tournament with her new top 25 ranking, draws for the big events in tennis are often made around six weeks in advance so she failed to make the cut for the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells next month, often heralded as the ‘fifth Grand Slam’.
The US Open winner is currently the top seed in the qualifying draw but is expected to receive a wildcard for direct entry to the tournament if she wishes, though isn’t entirely sure what’s next.
While she was uncertain on her next tournament, one thing Raducanu is sure of is that she wants to return home to celebrate her sensational heroics in New York before flying out again.
“Schedule-wise, I’m not sure. Maybe Indian Wells, I don’t know. I’m going back to London before my next tournament for sure,” she said.
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