Exclusive – Fernando Gonzalez on Emma Raducanu’s fairy tale and what happens next
Former French Open semi-finalists Fernando Gonzalez believes Emma Raducanu faces a huge challenge to adapt to life on the WTA Tour after her stunning breakthrough year that will saw her finish 2021 at No.19 in the rankings.
Raducanu created one of the biggest stories in tennis history as she won the US Open as a qualifier in September, with Gonzalez telling Tennis365 that the Brit now needs time to get used to her status as a global superstar.
Raducanu is set to play an exhibition match at the Champions Tour event in London on Sunday and Gonzalez told us that the 19-year-old needs to be given time to find her feet after her breakthrough year.
“She will need a few months to adapt to everything now,” began Gonzalez, who also reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and US Open in his impressive career.
“To be the US Open champion is a lot for her to take in when you consider she was ranked at 150 before that event started and now she is the player everyone talks about.
“I saw some moments of Raducanu’s first qualifying round at the US Open and there are like five people watching. Then two and a half weeks later, she is winning the big prize money and she is the champion in front of a full crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium and all around the world knows about her. It is an amazing story.
“We have to give her some time because clearly she is a great player with a great mentality and she will have a big career. To reach a Grand Slam final so early in your career and play such a great match against a player from your own generation was tough, but she won.
“Now everyone is looking at her, expecting her to do something special and the other players want to beat her. That can be tough, but she is going to be fine.”
Raducanu is set to play Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse at the Champions Tour event at London’s Albert Hall on Sunday, with Gonzalez also taking centre stage at the iconic venue this weekend in a tournament that also features Greg Rusedski, Thomas Berdych, Marcos Baghdatis and Radek Stepanek.
So excited to be playing in front of a home crowd this weekend @ChampionsTennis, an event I would go to watch as a young kid. Also to see some legends go head-to-head at the @RoyalAlbertHall: https://t.co/Q8CuaxNnrx#atpchampionstour #championstennis pic.twitter.com/jVlV7jVCqx
— Emma Raducanu (@EmmaRaducanu) November 23, 2021
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