‘People are talking about tennis again,’ revels Boris Becker after ‘Dame Emma Raducanu’s’ heroics
Tennis has a “new superstar” and Boris Becker believes Emma Raducanu will eventually become “Dame Emma Raducanu” while he is also delighted that the interest in tennis has increased following the “young guns'” US Open fairytales.
Raducanu, 18, and 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez enjoyed dream runs at Flushing Meadows with the former becoming the first qualifier – man or woman – to win a Grand Slam after beating Canadian Fernandez in the final.
Raducanu has naturally been the toast of the tennis world after her US Open triumph with everyone from the Queen to the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge congratulating her.
In an interview with Eurosport, former world No 1 Becker waxed lyrical about the teenager.
“What a supreme feeling: she got a personal letter from Queen Elizabeth. If that’s not a tribute, I don’t know what else there is to come,” he said. “Everyone here has noticed: we have a new superstar. But now it starts, now the dance starts.
“You have to follow up the performance, and the benchmark is impossibly high. She’s not going to win every match for the rest of her life. She’s going to play badly once in a while and she’s going to lose once in a while. A whole new journey through time has begun. I just hope that the environment around her continues to protect her, reassure her and not forget the priorities.
“She is so popular because she won a tennis match and nothing else. The speech after her victory was as if she had done it a hundred times before. A politician couldn’t express herself much better than this 18 year old. She did everything right, but now the real work starts.
“It’s not always easy, and I speak from my own experience. You’re still growing up, you make mistakes, you trust the wrong friends and so on. That may also happen to her, but I hope she will be well protected.
“It’s an open secret: she will become ‘Dame Emma Raducanu’ – Imagine that; it doesn’t get any better than that. Then there will be a Sir Andy Murray and a Dame Emma Raducanu – Wow!”
Raducanu and Fernandez’s success in New York has grabbed the headlines worldwide and Becker feels there has been a passing of the baton, which is good for the sport, while he also hailed the teenagers’ attacking style of play.
“I think the generational change has happened. The younger generation has taken over now,” he said. “We just talked about the queen, Serena Williams, for a very long time, because it was just her. Only Fernandez and Raducanu deserve to be the centre of attention now, and that will continue for the next few weeks. The young guns bring everything the tennis fan wants.
“People are talking about tennis again!
“If you want to be invited to the red carpet once in your life, it’s this Met Gala! Everyone that matters in film, music, radio and television wants to go there. And now there was a gathering of tennis players! That surprised me in a happy way, because I say tennis is back in vogue! It is presentable again. People like to be seen with young, successful tennis players again. That wasn’t the case for a while. We need this publicity. This is an unbelievably great development, and one that didn’t exist for years.
“For me, Raducanu and Fernandez are playing a different type of tennis: it’s a new, attacking form of tennis. The others can hardly keep up with that, because those two are getting better, and they’re going to fine-tune that. This, ‘I go into the rally and wait until the other one misses the ball’ – I think that’s over!
“They train differently, they are incredibly strong and have an incredible amount of power. They express that on the court as well. The established players have to get used to it, and in women’s tennis everyone has to prepare themselves: there’s a new way of playing here!”
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