‘I do like it, it just gives you an energy’: US Open champion Emma Raducanu says Parisian passion has echoes of New York as British starlet bids to reach third round at the French Open
- Emma Raducanu, 19, is loving life so far competing at the French Open
- She plays against Aliaksandra Sasnovich next for a spot in the third round
- Raducanu has shown signs that she is fast learner when playing on clay
It may sound ominous for opponents when Emma Raducanu observes that she finds similarities between Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows.
She has been enthused by what she has found at the venue with the most passionate and knowledgeable fans on the global circuit.
‘The French Open gives me similar vibes to the US Open just because of the crowd and how involved they get,’ said Raducanu ahead of her second round match on Wednesday morning against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. ‘I do like it, it gives you an energy. When they are against you, it gives you a bit of fire. When they are with you, it lifts you up to keep going. It’s pretty fun.’
Emma Raducanu says there are similarities between Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows
Still, nobody should get carried away in expecting some repeat of the New York miracle over the next fortnight.
However impressively the US Open champion dug within herself on Monday evening to overcome another future star in Linda Noskova, she still has much to learn about the business on clay. A giveaway is the black T-shirt she has been wearing during her practice sessions, which has the words ‘In Progress’ emblazoned across the back.
On Wednesday, facing the seasoned world No 47 from Belarus may prove to be Raducanu’s last outing on clay this year. However, we have already seen signs of how the 19-year-old is a quick learner. Her 6-4 match record of the past six weeks is better than realistic observers would have expected of someone who had never played professionally on it before then.
The 19-year-old sports a telling black T-shirt during her practice sessions at Roland Garros
Her movement, for instance, has already improved in the way she is moving into the ball. She is willing to impart more looping spin in the midst of rallies to mix things up.
There are still more skills she could acquire and probably will, given her thirst for knowledge. Perfecting the dropshot, a highly effective play in that it drags opponents in from their baseline comfort zone, would be one particular asset in this environment.
In the heavy conditions of Monday it was notable that her younger opponent had superior firepower. Developing a greater weight of shot through increased strength is a long-term project for Raducanu, who nonetheless displayed impressive stamina in seeing off the young Czech in two hours and 40 minutes.
Notably, of her 14 wins at a Grand Slam, this was the first that lasted more than two hours, and there was no appearance from the tour physio.
The British No 1 faces Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round on Wednesday morning
Now she meets a player from one of the nations banned from Wimbledon. Raducanu was keen to stay out of the debate currently convulsing her sport, while confirming that she will play at SW19 come what may. Facing the Belarusian Sasnovich will remind her of that frenzied time in her life that followed the US Open, as she was her first opponent thereafter — at Indian Wells in California.
Distracted and unready, Raducanu lost comfortably. ‘Sasnovich was a really tough opponent that day, I think she played very well,’ recalled Raducanu. ‘Equally I feel like at that point in time, I maybe wasn’t ready to compete straight away. I didn’t take much of a break after the US Open.
‘I am really looking forward to this next match. I have personally gone through a lot in the last 12 months tennis-wise. I think I have developed a lot.’
Cam Norrie will be the other British singles player in action, seeking to reach the third round for the second year running when he takes on Australian qualifier Jason Kubler.