January 17, 2022

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Credit score for Emma Raducanu’s rise belongs near dwelling

Emma Raducanu has enjoyed a sensational start at her first ever US Open
Emma Raducanu has enjoyed a sensational start at her first ever US Open (Picture: Getty)

Somebody wise once said success has many fathers but failure is an orphan, and with the rise and rise of 18-year-old British prospect Emma Raducanu there are a lot of fathers about.

It seems anybody and everybody who was in the same room, tennis club, county or country has had something to do with her success. You can’t move for bandwagons circling the Raducanu fire. ’Twas ever thus.

So here’s my take. I was never anywhere near her, never on court with her, I had nothing to do with her serve or her forehand or her diet. I never organised a training programme or was anywhere near any strategy or plan for the future.

2021 US Open - Previews
The 18-year-old player is a ‘natural winner’ (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

The real credit for her success belongs to Emma herself and her family. They live an ordinary life in Bromley, south London, and her parents Ian and Renee have devoted love, time and money on Emma and we all see the results.

She appears to love winning as much as she hates losing and there is a difference.

At the moment, she is instinctively aggressive at the right times, especially on the return of serve and her second serve — usually a weakness for the inexperienced player — has yet to crumble.

Athletically she is gifted although clearly she has worked herself hard into the dirt.

There will be occasions when she does not win lots of matches for the first time, and where not every locker room and players’ lounge is new and thrilling.

There will be times when she may judge herself as a person on whether she’s winning or losing, or the thought of seeing the inside of another airport makes her blood run cold. But what Emma’s doing now is ascending and it is thrilling to watch.

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Raducanu’s development at the moment is in great strides, improvements are weekly events, and she not only looks like she belongs but that she can be a top-20 player, maybe even higher.

I’m delighted for her and all involved, and I’m delighted for all those who have got something to hang on to.

The agents are already having a field day and picture editors can’t get enough because commercially she ticks every box but what underpins everything, and renders anything else meaningless, is whether she wins or loses.

Raducanu is a natural winner and I wish her the very best of luck. She has a very exciting career ahead.

Delighted to see Kyle Edmund, Britain’s former Australian Open semi-finalist, at lunch the other day. He’s had enough of watching others play after serious knee issues and hopes to be on the match court by the end of the year.

Flush these spats down the pan and just get on with the tennis

Every time the tennis world gets together there seems to be some gripe or controversy that nicks all the headlines when actually it should be the sport that’s making the news.

Andy Murray goes toe-to-toe with world No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas over an enthralling four hours and 48 minutes and all the talk is about how long Tsitsipas took to change his clothes and have a wee.

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Andy Murray of Great Britain instructs his team to find him a replacement pair of shoes during his match against Stefano Tsitsipas of Greece in the first round of the men's singles at the US Open 2021 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
Andy Murray was unimpressed with Stefanos Tsitsipas’s long loo breaks (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

Murray said he had lost respect for his opponent and claimed what he had done is cheating.

Everybody latched on and the next thing you have got is a mini-scandal.

Murray was in fantastic form in the match and there were definite signs he could once again carve out a place at the top of world tennis.

That might be wishful thinking and who knows whether he will ever be able to play seven matches in a row to reach a grand-slam final but the signs were good.

This was the fifth longest match of Murray’s career and, bearing in mind he has been a professional for half of his 34 years and played 889 matches, that’s a tremendous effort.

Tsitsipas took an eight-minute break at the end of the fourth set, which he won, and a few minutes less at the end of the third set, which he lost. This is within the rules and he has denied there was any communication by telephone from the confines of the toilet cubicle.

It all seems pretty pathetic to me, although once you get a reputation for bending the rules the locker room can be unforgiving.

The fact is Murray is gone, Tsitsipas has since progressed to round three and, if Hurricane Ida allows, the US Open will become more about the tennis and less about the spats.

Dan reaping rewards in redemption

Other players hate playing Dan Evans, the British No.1.

I really enjoy watching him because his game is a throwback. His sliced backhand and the way he gets into the net is like watching tennis from the old days. Dan can actually volley from a position which is not right on top of the net, he has technique that can be trusted and control of the racket face that marks out true talent. He’s no slugger.

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He is into the third round for a fourth time where he will play Alexei Popyrin.

Dan’s story of redemption is inspirational. Lesser men when banned for taking cocaine would have crumbled. Shamed for squandering his talent, he could have quit. Instead he is contending at slams and has a seemingly permanent place in the top 30.

No wonder his eyes welled up when asked after his second-round win who he had just been texting. The answer was his partner Aleah.

Few can achieve success alone and clearly she has helped him to not only maximise his talent but actually have a career after his personal crisis.

MORE : Emma Raducanu speaks out after coping with late opponent change to win first US Open match

MORE : Andy Murray takes aim at Tsitsipas again as toilet break row rolls on

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