Emma Raducanu eased past American legend Serena Williams in the first round of the 2022 Cincinnati Open in straight sets 6-4,6-0 in their first ever meeting. This was Serena’s penultimate tournament as a professional tennis player as she has decided to retire after the US Open. A lot was expected from this highly anticipated clash but Serena couldn’t deliver in front on Raducanu’s tactical brilliance.
The British No.1 was on song right from the very beginning and was playing very aggressive tennis. She soaked in all the pressure of playing someone of the stature of Serena and I reflected this in her body language. Raducanu was involved in the match and was pumping herself by yelling ‘Come on’ very often especially during the first set.
Many thought that her constant yelling was a mark of disrespect to Serena, who is towards the end of her career and is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. In the post-match press conference, Raducanu addressed this situation and clarified that she was the utmost respect for Serena Williams. The ‘Come on’ he threw was her staying to herself and pumping herself up. She added that she respects Serena so much as an athlete.
“Well, yeah, I think that playing Serena [Williams], you don’t like – to be honest, I was just like in awe and you don’t want to – I think I said, like, one “Come on” in the match, and I was just staying to myself, because I respect her so much as an athlete, as a tennis player, as a person. Who knows how many times I’m going to see such a great champion out there again,” Raducanu said.
‘I think she’s done amazing things for the sport’: Emma Raducanu on Serena Williams
Raducanu also said that Serena has done amazing things for tennis and hence she didn’t do any big celebration as a mark of respect to her in on the last matches of her legendary career.
“I think she’s done amazing things for the sport. I didn’t really want to make a scene. Like she’s done so much for the sport that, yeah, I just respect her a lot. I think that no big celebration was necessary. I think the biggest celebration is just like what the crowd kind of gave her and honored her. Myself, as well,” she added.
On the court, Raducanu will now face 2-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday. Azarenka, like Raducanu, is struggling with form and both players will be desperate for a solid win ahead of the US Open.