Emma Raducanus impact on British tennis rising stars explained by Jo Durie

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Emma Raducanu’s sensational US Open win and rise to fame in 2021 will inspire junior players to reach new heights, according to former British number one Jo Durie. The 18-year-old became a global sporting superstar when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam as she stormed to glory at Flushing Meadows.

Raducanu will finish the year in the top 20 of the WTA rankings, joining exclusive company in Virginia Wade, Sue Barker, Johanna Konta and Durie as the only British women to crack such a bracket.

And after Raducanu won the UK Pro League tournament a year ago, Durie believes the players she defeated en route to the title will be inspired by Raducanu’s success, and give them encouragement to go onto bigger and better things.

The former world number five suggested the Brit can act as a catalyst for more domestic stars to blossom.

“Emma Raducanu won the UK Pro League last year and there are some players who played her in this country not so long ago and beat her,” Durie told Tennis365 at the UK Pro League Finals Week.

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“Then a few months later, they see her winning a Grand Slam and they will think why can’t I do something like that. It has given them extra motivation and confidence.

“What Emma achieved this year was totally amazing. We are all still talking about it. I have spoken to so many people who never really watched tennis and it just caught their imagination.

“It really has had an impact on a lot of people. She is so engaging as a character, easy to watch as she is such a great player and it really has inspired a lot of people and given our game a massive boost.”

Raducanu burst onto the scene at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before being forced to retire from her fourth-round match with Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties. 

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After dramatically winning her maiden Grand Slam in New York, the teenager finished her first season as a professional on a sour note, losing to world number 106 Wang Xinyu 6-1 6-7(0-7) 7-5 in the second round of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz tournament. 

Despite her early exit, the Brit is set to improve and move from number 20 in the rankings to number 19. 

While Durie could see Raducanu had immense potential, she was still struck by the 18-year-old’s brilliant run at the US Open.

“What I saw in Emma in recent years is someone who I knew was going to be very good, but to win a Grand Slam like that… no I didn’t see that happening,” Durie conceded.

“This was someone who didn’t play much at the start of this year, had not even played a match on the WTA Tour and then she played in the manner she did at Wimbledon before we all saw what happened at the US Open.

“That was not on anyone’s radar, but we can all see the talent there. She works hard, is eager to learn, has a great temperament, so let’s celebrate her success. It’s fantastic for Emma and everyone involved in British tennis.”

Durie was working with rising star Eliz Maloney at the UK Pro League event, which she believes is a vital part of the development of British players.

The youngsters are able to earn money and play competitive matches domestically, which Durie supports wholeheartedly. 

“The LTA are supporting this and that is the right thing to do,” Durie added. 

“We all need to pull together in tennis for the good of the game and there are too many different factions in tennis. The last thing we need is any more.

“Given what has happened over the last 18 months, the UK Pro League has been a life saver as it has allowed our players to play matches and earn money when travel was so difficult. You can only practice so much and it has been wonderful to have this event spread over the course of the year.”

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