Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides `huge opportunity´

Andy Murray breaks silence on Emma Raducanu: Triple Grand Slam winner publicly praises ‘very special’ 18-year-old tennis star… two days after her US Open win

  • ‘It was incredible what she did there,’ said the 34-year-old Scot, as he played in a tournament last night 
  • Emma’s been training in recent weeks under new coach Andrew Richardson, Tim Henman’s best man 
  • Her coach until around three weeks ago was Nigel Sears, whose daughter Kim is married to Andy Murray 
  • Tennis fans take to social media to urge Sir Andy to give public tribute to most successful female in decades 
  • But source said he had congratulated her privately and also spent time with her in New York during US Open 

Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s ‘incredible’ US Open win and spoken of grasping a ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis – 48 hours on from her famous victory.

Kent teenager Miss Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.

Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden. And the three-time grand slam winner said: ‘It was incredible what she did there.

‘I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good. She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round before having to withdraw due to breathing difficulties) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.

‘I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.

‘But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport. It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.’

Raducanu, who beat Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final, is the first British woman to win a grand slam singles title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.

MailOnline revealed yesterday that Sir Andy sent his private congratulations to Emma  and doesn’t hold a grudge after it emerged that the teenage tennis sensation dumped his father-in-law as coach on the eve of her US Open triumph.

Emma Raducanu with Andy Murray, her mentor and friend. He has hailed Emma’s US Open win as ‘incredible’ and a ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis

Emma Raducanu holds the US Open championship trophy after defeating Leylah Fernandez in the singles final on Saturday

Her surprise decision to move from the experienced hands of Nigel Sears, whose daughter Kim is married to Andy, to return to a coach from her youth, Andrew Richardson, reaped rewards as she became the first British female grand slam champion since 1977 and the first to win in New York for 53 years.

Emma has been inundated with messages from the Queen, Boris Johnson, stars of sport and screen and millions of proud Britons. However, there has been speculation on social media about her relationship with Andy after he failed to give his own message of support when he tweets most days and even his mother Judy has sent her congratulations. Although Emma’s parents Ian and Renee have not been seen or spoken publicly since her victory.

As Murray stayed silent on social media, one tennis fan tweeted: ‘@andy_murray cannot believe you are not shouting from the skies about @EmmaRaducanu We are all so proud of all your achievements, does this take you back? Here’s hoping Emma has a great career ahead’. Then another tweeted: ‘Is it to do with the fact that Emma dropped his father in law as her coach?’. 

But a source told MailOnline that Sir Andy, who mentored Emma for the past two years through the Amazon Prime talent scheme, had congratulated her on her success ‘privately’, saying it was ‘much more his style’.

The insider insisted there was ‘absolutely no’ animosity about her decision to change coach, saying that Andy had spoken to her in person while he was in New York competing in the US Open, and adding: ‘He’ll always make time for any British players, knows how hard it was when he was coming through’.

It only emerged last month that 18-year-old Miss Raducanu, now the hottest property in British sport, walked away from long-time coach Nigel Sears, who had said recently: ‘I knew she was exceptional the first time I saw her’.

She turned to her youth coach Andrew Richardson, a ‘calming’ 6ft 7 inch presence, who until recently had been head tennis coach at Culford, a private school in Suffolk. Andrew also happens to have been best man at Tim Henman’s wedding, and after her win yesterday Emma praised Tim for providing support and inspiration.   

Tim Henman points at Emma Raducanu (left) as she wins her US Open final at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on Saturday

Judy Murray tweeted her congratulations to the US Open Champion shortly after her historic victory in New York.  Andy Murray’s mother and former Fed Cup captain said of Emma’s victory ‘a star is born’ as she shared a childhood picture of Raducanu with a medal as a youngster.

Meanwhile the Lawn Tennis Association, British tennis’ governing body, shared a video of the 18-year-old rallying with three-time Grand Slam champion Andy at the National Tennis Centre in London.

In recent weeks Raducanu has been training under new coach Mr Richardson, who was a contemporary of Henman and even served as best man at his wedding to Lucy Heald in 1999 in Odiham, Hampshire. 

Henman, 47, struggled to control his emotions during Saturday’s match and he was the first person Raducanu looked at after winning the game – and he was seen pointing towards her before smiling at her coaching team. 

He said: ‘I’ve been court side for every match, best seat in the house, and to see her, the ways she’s played, and this fairytale run, I think I’m still slightly in shock, so I dread to think how she feels’.

Tim was audibly hoarse while giving his post-match analysis having cheered throughout for Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to reach a slam final and the first woman ever to win a title in as few as two tournaments.

Henman backed Raducanu to add more grand slam titles to her maiden victory, telling Amazon Prime: ‘What she has achieved, second grand slam and the way she has gone about it, she will win more of these, she is that good.

‘This is not some flash in the pan or fairy tale. She is playing top five tennis. Her world will be turned upside down but she has good people around her. It will be a hell of a ride if she can stay injury free.’

Henman – known as ‘Tiger Tim’ – said Raducanu had ‘made it look ridiculously easy but it’s been a bit closer than the scoreline has suggested’ and praised her for her ‘resilience’, adding: ‘It’s an absolute joke, my legs are like jelly.’

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is convinced ‘we’ll be hearing about her for many, many years’ after watching Raducanu’s meteoric rise in New York.

Former heptathlete Ennis-Hill, who carried the weight of a nation when delivering gold for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, has been hugely impressed at how Raducanu has bounced back from her disappointing ending at Wimbledon.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘For her to come back at the age that she is and to be so resilient and put all those comments to bed and trust in her ability and know what she can achieve… she just went out there and performed and delivered. It was so inspiring and she seems like an amazing young woman with a fantastic future ahead of her.

‘I hope she has this moment to just absorb what she has achieved and really celebrate it and then I’ve no doubt she’ll re-focus and we’ll be hearing about her for many, many years.’

The Lawn Tennis Association is hoping to capitalise on Raducanu’s soaring popularity to generate more Government funding to refurbish crumbling public park courts.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd told the BBC that 40 per cent of park courts are ‘in poor or unplayable condition’.

‘Our vision for the LTA is to open up tennis and to do that we need to ensure that the public facilities available for anyone to play on are there,’ Lloyd said.

‘We have invested £8.5million into local authorities to start the journey of putting them back into long-term sustainable use.

‘But we’re also very keen to work with Government to ensure we can finish that job and we think that’s about another £15-20million worth of funding that could see 1,800 tennis courts in parks come back into use.’

Also cheering on Raducanu at Arthur Ashe Stadium was Virginia Wade, the last British woman to win both the US Open and a grand slam singles title 44 years ago – and she applauded Raducanu with a huge smile. 

Raducanu has been training in recent weeks under new coach Andrew Richardson (circled), who was a contemporary of Henman and even served as best man at his wedding to Lucy Heald in 1999 in Odiham, Hampshire

Emma Raducanu with her team – physio Will Herbert (left), Mr Richardson (second right) and agent Chris Helliar (far right)

Raducanu said: ‘It means so much to have Virginia here and also Tim. Just to have such British legends and icons for me to follow in their footsteps, it definitely helps and gave me the belief that I could actually do it.’

Speaking after her semi-final victory, Raducanu had also praised Henman, saying: ‘Tim is honestly such a big inspiration. He has been helping me to treat one point at a time. You can’t get ahead of yourself.’

The Amazon broadcast team were also heavily invested in Raducanu, having already part-funded her amazing journey by contributing £60,000 towards her development through the Prime Video Future Talent Award in 2019.

Speaking before her win, Henman – who made the semi-finals of the US Open in 2004 – had told Sportsmail: ‘It is phenomenal the way she has gone about it with such limited experience and at such a high level.

‘She has been outstanding. The key thing is just concentrating on her game plan. She has played on [this court] a couple of times so she knows the surroundings.

Raducanu replaced her previous coach Nigel Sears (right, circled) – Sir Andy Murray’s father-in-law – with Mr Richardson

Former British number one Henman made the semi-finals of the US Open in 2004. He is pictured after that match in New York

‘It is hard at any age to shut out all the noise around her whether it be the media or friends getting in contact. She has to concentrate on what she is doing.’ 

Amazon Prime screened the game live, but in a last-minute deal it agreed to share the broadcast with Channel 4, so UK viewers could also watch it on free-to-air TV.  

Raducanu beat Leylah Fernandez to emerge victorious in the US Open, winning all 20 sets she played in qualifying and the main draw. 

Fernandez is only two months older having celebrated her 19th birthday last week but the Canadian, who had claimed a host of big scalps, including defending champion Naomi Osaka, had no answer to the brilliance of Raducanu, who claimed a 6-4 6-3 victory in an hour and 51 minutes.

Emma’s joy tinged with sadness: Teen says she ‘wished her parents were there’ to watch her win US Open after Covid rules kept them in UK

British tennis superstar Emma Raducanu has admitted that she wished her parents were in New York to watch her win the astonishing US Open final on Saturday after draconian Covid rules kept them in Britain in a candid post-match press conference.

The 18-year-old from Bromley, who became Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion in 44 years after beating Canadian rival Lelyah Fernandez in straight sets at Flushing Meadows, revealed she doesn’t talk much about tennis with her parents.

Raducanu also said her ‘tough to please’ father told her ‘you’re even better than I thought’ after becoming the first Briton to win a major since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and the first qualifier to triumph in a Grand Slam, in either the men’s or women’s game.

This is the father of Wimbledon golden girl Emma Raducanu who helped his daughter by playing tennis with her in their quiet cul-de-sac 

Emma Raducan’s mother Renee attended her daughter’s matches at Wimbledon earlier this summer 

She told reporters: ‘I speak to my parents, we don’t really talk so much about tennis but they just really want to know how I am in these moments and, you know, to not have them here with me, I would have loved them to be here and we can all celebrate together or they could be with me and experience the same things but you know, they’re watching from home very proud.

‘My dad said to me ‘you’re even better than your dad thought’ so that was reassuring. My dad’s definitely very tough to please but I managed to today.’

Raducanu’s parents Ian and Renee Raducanu have been hugely influential in their daughter’s remarkable journey. 

Romanian Ian and Renee, who is Chinese, were living in Toronto, Canada, when only child Emma was born, and the family moved to the UK when she was two.

Both work in finance and home is in a cul-de-sac in Bromley, South East London, where Emma and her dad would hit tennis balls together in the street during the Covid lockdowns. 

However, they weren’t able to travel to the US to attend the tournament because of Covid rules. 

Source: Read Full Article