WATCH: The tournament that gave Emma Raducanu breakthrough win about to crown a new champion
It was the tournament that gave Emma Raducanu a breakthrough victory last year and now the UK Pro League is about to crown a successor with Finals Week on the horizon.
In a year that saw so many tennis events cancelled due to the Covid pandemic, organisers River Media Partners set up a tournament that gave British players a welcome platform to showcase their talents and earn some prize money in a domestic tournament.
Raducanu won the women’s Pro League title with a tight win against Jodie Burrage in the final, while Liam Broady beat Ryan Peniston in the men’s final played at St. George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.
The comments offered up by the teenager after her win make for interesting reading now, as she came back in a contest that appeared to be going Burrage’s way for long periods swung her way in a deciding tie-break.
“It feels great especially after that match – it was a bit of an epic, was up and down and there was such a momentum shift,” reflected the then 17-year-old rising star. “To be honest, at one point I didn’t think I’d be able to pull through but as it got tighter I thought I could actually do it.<
“My long-term goals in tennis are to be top 10 in the world and win Slams – they’re my ultimate dreams and I definitely think I have the mentality to do it. I’m pretty ambitious – there are a lot of 17-year-olds out there who are better than me.
“There are top 100 WTA players, so that’s where you want to be. It’s just if my game can follow, but I think with the progress that I’m making at the moment that isn’t too far out of the question.
“I really do believe I can do it. I think I’ve still got at least 15 years in the sport, but I would want to be peaking in my 20s when I’m about 23.”
Raducanu’s modest ambitions after her win Pro League win last year now look a little misplaced, after her breakthrough year started with a run to the last-16 at Wimbledon before her historic US Open win at Flushing Meadows.
Yet her success highlights what is possible for those looking to succeed her as Pro League champion, with a new batch of hopefuls will gather at the Shrewsbury Club on Monday after battling through nine weeks of action to make it through to the finals.
The UK Pro League will be broadcast on BT Sport in the UK, the Tennis Channel and on Pro League TV, with spectators set to be in attendance for the first time this year.
3️⃣ days to go to the UK Pro League Finals! 🔥
The Final chapter of the UK Pro League 2021 will start next Monday at @shrewsbury_club 🔥
Link in bio for tickets 🎟 🍿
— UK Pro League Tennis (@UKPLeague) November 5, 2021
Tennis365 will have coverage of the UK Pro League finals throughout next week, including exclusive interviews with the players.
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