US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells
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Simona Halep has tipped Emma Raducanu to win more Grand Slams after her unprecedented US Open title run. The Brit made history at just 18-years-old by becoming the first-ever qualifier to win a Major title in Flushing Meadows last month, and has since skyrocketed up the rankings to world No 21. Raducanu has previously heralded Halep as one of her idols, and the two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No 1 has now endorsed the recent US Open champion to repeat her success in the future.
Raducanu is set to play her first match since her historic US Open win when she faces off against world No 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in Indian Wells.
If the world No 21 is able to win her opening match in the Californian desert, she will set up a meeting with one of her tennis idols, Halep, in the third round.
The Brit has made no secret of her admiration for the two-time Major champion, with an adorable photo emerging during the US Open showing a young Raducanu posing with her tennis hero.
While Halep admitted she did not remember the photo, she shared her admiration for the Bromley teenager and backed Raducanu to repeat her Grand Slam success in the future.
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“I don’t remember from that picture when [it] was taken but I saw it and I was really happy that we have this picture. She was very nice to send me that one on Instagram,” the 30-year-old said.
Speaking of being the new US Open champion’s idol, Halep also admitted it didn’t serve as the most pleasant reminder of her age.
The world No 17 continued: “I feel old when these teenagers are coming and winning Grand Slams but we just have to admire them.
“It’s amazing to be able to win at this age, I feel like at 18 you are so young and you are not actually ready for the big success but they are and have been. So I admire all the 18-year-olds that are playing so well and winning big tournaments.”
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Halep, who has titles from French Open and Wimbledon under her belt, also shared her well wishes to the young Brit, though noted that the pressure would begin to pile on Raducanu soon.
“I wish her luck, she has to stay focused because many years ahead of tennis.
“So I’m sure that she will win more but [it] will be a little bit tough when she feels the pressure I think.”
The Romanian, who won Indian Wells back in 2015 to mark her first WTA 1000 title, also sounded keen to face the new world No 21 in the next round.
Speaking after her opening win against Marta Kostyuk, Halep said: “I’m happy that I will have the chance to play with [the] US Open champion so fast, the next tournament after that Grand Slam.
“Yeah, I just want to be ready and honestly I will focus on myself like I do every match.”
Meanwhile, Raducanu did not want to look past her first match against Sasnovich but admitted she would be excited to face off against one of her heroes.
“Yeah, it’s a round ahead so I don’t want to get ahead of myself at all,” the 18-year-old said ahead of the tournament.
“Like every single player in this draw is high quality. Anything can happen. Obviously Simona is my idol and if it were to happen I would be really excited and up for it because it’s just an amazing opportunity and experience.
“One match at a time. Just looking forward to getting out there when I play my first match.”
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