Emma Raducanu teaches tennis lesson from 4,000 miles away
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka has explained the role she played in Emma Raducanu’s rise through the professional tennis ranks. The Brit’s agent set up a chat between the duo long before Raducanu burst onto the scene at Wimbledon and kicked on to achieve US Open glory.
Raducanu was practically unknown by the time she was granted a wildcard into the 2021 Wimbledon draw. Once there, she grasped the opportunity with both hands by making it all the way to the fourth round, where she ultimately lost to Ajla Tomljanovic.
There was to be no such misfortune at Flushing Meadows just a few months later, however, as she staggeringly won the Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set after coming through as a qualifier.
Results have waned for the 20-year-old ever since, and she is sitting out this year’s Wimbledon after having surgery on her wrists and ankle.
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Speaking to the Up Front podcast with Simon Jordan, Azarenka has shed light on her surprise at Raducanu making the splash she did at SW19 while reflecting on a friendly chat that was set up prior to the tournament.
“I met Emma on WhatsApp,” revealed the Belarusian. “Her agent at the time reached out to mine and said that there was a young girl who wanted to talk to me and ask me for some advice.
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“We talked for about an hour, and she was telling me that she was having some injury troubles and that she was looking forward to joining the tour. Then at Wimbledon in 2021, I heard the name Emma Raducanu, and I looked back in my emails and it was her!
“When Emma won the US Open, the feeling was one of ecstasy and people being so happy for her. Now that she is down, people are jumping on her and those negative waves are hard to handle.
“When you’re in the moment, you don’t realise what’s going on around you, and I don’t think she realised how big she became and how huge the moment was. Everybody wanted to be a part of it.”
Although Raducanu has not been involved in a competitive capacity at the All England Club this year, Azarenka enjoyed a solid run to the round of 16, with a win over Daria Kasatkina along the way.
However, the 33-year-old’s campaign was ended by Elina Svitolina on Sunday, with the Ukrainian coming from behind to notch a hard-fought three-set victory.
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