Emma Raducanu returns to Grand Slam tennis as an MBE today, insisting she is the same person who lost her only match at the junior Australian Open in 2019. The British No.1 has lost to Japan’s Himari Sato in the first round on her Melbourne Park debut but her Majors record – and game – has since improved.
She reached the fourth round of Wimbledon on her main draw debut before winning all 10 matches without dropping a set en route to the US Open title.
And before facing 2017 New York champion Sloane Stephens in the second match of the evening at Margaret Court Arena, 19-year-old Raducanu said: “I loved Australia from the first time I came here. , I think it’s amazing, with the facilities here and the weather.
“It’s got absolutely everything we need. So we’re very lucky to be in the position to play here and in a big city. So I feel like in a lot of ways, Emma, 16, is exactly the same as the person I am now. Hopefully I learned a little more and am a little wiser in my old age.
Raducanu also finished 2021 with BBC Sports Personality of the Year and an MBE. “I think it was truly an honor to receive this at the end of the year,” she said.
“I had a great year. So to top it off, it was just amazing. I’m certainly very grateful.
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Meanwhile, Liam Broady will renew his junior rivalry with Nick Kyrgios in the final match at the John Cain Arena as the Stockport star finally makes his Australian Open debut.
The British No.4 showed his emotions as he came through qualifying seven years after losing to American Michael Russell in the final round.
“It kind of derailed my career,” admitted the world number 128. this for a long time.
“So it was good in that sense to put that to bed and finally qualify for the Australian Open where the heartache of a professional career began. I felt like I was putting things back in order and that’s been my goal for a while.”
Britain’s Cam Norrie has admitted he played his worst match in eight months when he crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open.
The British No. 1 had a breakthrough in 2021 by winning his first ATP Tour titles – including the Indian Wells Masters – and climbing to world No. 12. But Norrie, who tested positive for Covid before Christmas, continued his poor record in the Majors by losing 6-3 6-0 6-4 to US world No. 43 Seb Korda on Sunday.
“I think I’ve never really been in the game,” he said. I think this might be my worst game in about eight months.
“Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it. I just need to get better and better. Lots to work on. Korda was too good today. On the biggest points, he was much better than me.
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“For the past year and a half, I have played very well on the big points, in the big moments and I have been very fast on the pitch. Today, I did none of that.
“I think I prepared as well as I could, and I felt good physically, good mentally. There’s no excuse there.
Norrie won 52 games in a grueling last season but started 2022 with a hat-trick of defeats and now their third first-round loss in four appearances at Melbourne Park. He also lost his first match in New York and is yet to make it past the third round of a Grand Slam.
And Norrie, who will return to action in Rotterdam next month, said: “I think I’ll try to be a bit smarter trying to get to the top for the bigger events. The plan is to have a full schedule but around maybe Slams or Masters maybe try to get one of those 250 off before then to make sure I can try and peak to these larger events.