Emma Raducanu entered 2021 as the world no. 343, and she will be exiting it as no. 19. This meteoric rise in ranking is due to her unbelievable performance at the Flushing Meadows in New York. She entered the US Open tournament as a qualifier and went on to lift the trophy without dropping a set. Not only was it the teenager’s first grand slam win, but also her maiden WTA title.
Then aged 18, Emma Raducanu had already entered the top 150 after a 4th round appearance at Wimbledon. However, the US Open victory propelled her to the top 25 in the world. Subsequent performances ensured Raducanu a year-end ranking of no. 19 in the world.
While achievements can bring worldwide fame, glory can also haunt. This has been the case with Emma Raducanu. While at one hand she was bestowed with honours and invited to prestigious events, she was also criticised for her on-court performance post the US Open. Her lack of a permanent coach, consistency, and form, everything was dissected by the media.
Former tennis player Greg Rudeski came to Emma’s defense, saying that she should be given time to adjust just like Pete Sampras.
“Give her 9 to 18 months” – Greg Rudeski on Emma Raducanu
The former world no. 4 and Grand Cup winner Greg Rudeski urged the tennis world to give the young player some time to adjust to everything. He exemplified Pete Sampras, whose second grand slam win came nearly 3 years after the first. Despite the large gap, Sampras went on to win 12 more titles and was leading the list until 2009. He is considered one of the best tennis players of all time, and Rudeski’s point was that greatness takes time to build.
He told Express Sports, “As I said when she won the US Open, give her nine months to 18 months to adjust. I remember a young player by the name of Pete Sampras, who at 19 won the US Open out of nowhere and nobody really knew who this kid was. It took him a good nine months to adjust to being in that situation.”And I think with Emma, let’s not forget she hadn’t even won a match on the WTA Tour until a few weeks after the US Open, her second event, so everything’s new.”
Greg Rudeski on Emma Raducanu: “let’s not forget she’s 19”
The 1997 US Open finalist asked people to remember that the reigning US Open champion is only 19 years old. “The positive news for her though, she’s hired a coach who’s worked with [Angelique] Kerber, who’s a multiple Grand Slam champion and world no. 1… It seems like that’s in place now, so this off-season is going to be important, and I think she’ll adjust. Let’s not forget I mean she’s just turned 19 years of age, what are most 19 year-olds doing around the world?” said Rudeski.