Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeSportEmma Raducanu makes Australian Open pledge ahead of tournament return

Emma Raducanu makes Australian Open pledge ahead of tournament return


Emma Raducanu returns to Grand Slam tennis as an MBE today insisting she is the same person who lost her only match in the Australian Open juniors in 2019. The British No.1 lost to Japan’s Himari Sato in the first round on her debut in Melbourne Park but her Majors record – and game – has improved since.

She reached the Wimbledon fourth round on her main draw debut before winning all 10 matches without dropping a set on her way to the US Open title.

And before facing the 2017 New York champion Sloane Stephens in the second night match in the Margaret Court Arena, the 19-year-old Raducanu said: “I loved Australia from the first time I came here, I think it’s amazing, with the facilities here and the weather.

“It’s got absolutely everything that we need. So we’re very lucky to be in the situation to play here and in a great city. So I feel like in many ways, 16 year old Emma’s exactly the same as the person I am now. I hope that I’ve learned a bit more and I’m a bit wiser in my old age.”

Raducanu also finished 2021 with BBC Sports Personality of the Year and an MBE. “I think it was an honour really to be awarded that at the end of the year,” she said.

“I had a great year. So to top it off with that was just amazing. I am definitely very grateful.”

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Meanwhile, Liam Broady will renew his juniors rivalry with Nick Kyrgios in the last match in the John Cain Arena as the Stockport star finally makes his Australian Open debut.

The British No.4 showed his emotions when he came through qualifying seven years after losing to American Michael Russell in the final round.

“It kind of threw my career off the rails a little bit,” admitted the world No.128. “I went home and turned off my phone and disappeared for a week or two getting up to mischief, and I didn’t recover from that for a long time.

“So this was nice in that sense to put that to bed and to finally qualify for the Aussie Open where the heartache of a pro career kind of began. It felt like I was putting things right and that’s been a goal of mine for a while.”

Britain’s Cam Norrie admitted he had played his worst match for eight months as he crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open.

The British No.1 enjoyed a breakthrough 2021 as he won his first ATP Tour titles – including the Indian Wells Masters – and climbed up to world No.12. But Norrie, who tested positive to Covid before Christmas, continued his poor record in Majors by losing 6-3 6-0 6-4 to American world No.43 Seb Korda on Sunday.

“I think I was never really in the match at all,” he said. I think that’s maybe my worst match in the last eight months or so.

“I honestly can’t put a finger on it. I just need to get better and improve. Lots to work on. Korda was too good today. On the bigger points he was much better than me.

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“For the last year and a half, I have been playing great on the big points, in the big moments and I have been very quick around the court. Today I didn’t do any of that.
“I think I prepared as well as I can, and I felt fine physically, fine mentally. There is no excuses out there.”

Norrie won 52 matches in a gruelling last season but has started 2022 with a hat-trick of defeats and now his third first-round defeat in four appearances at Melbourne Park. He also lost his first match in New York and has yet to get beyond the third round in a Grand Slam.

And Norrie, who will return to action in Rotterdam next month, said: “I think I’m going to try and be a little bit smarter in terms of trying to peak for the bigger events. The plan is to have a full-on schedule but around maybe the Slams or the Masters try, maybe take one of those 250s off before that to make sure I can try and peak for those bigger events.”



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