Emma Raducanu Pays Tribute to Serena Williams After Match Win: “It was a True Honour”

MASON, OHIO - AUGUST 16:  Emma Raducanu of Great Britain talks to the media after defeating Serena Williams of the United States in her first round match on Day 4 of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 16, 2022 in Mason, Ohio (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
MASON, OHIO – AUGUST 16: Emma Raducanu of Great Britain talks to the media after defeating Serena Williams of the United States in her first round match on Day 4 of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 16, 2022 in Mason, Ohio (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Serena Williams is often reference as one of the greatest female tennis player of all time. As she plays her last few matches before retiring from the game, it’s clear how much she has inspired other players, none more so than 19-year-old Emma Raducanu. The British tennis star won 6-4 against Williams, who is 20 years her senior, at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati on 16 Aug., and was quick to praise the “inspirational” US sports star.

It was the first time the pair have played each other, and Raducanu was honest about how “nervous” she was to take on “such a champion”. After her triumph, the composed young Brit told the crowd: “I’m so grateful for the experience to have been able to play her and for our careers to have crossed over. Everything she has achieved is so inspirational and it was a true honour to share the court with her.”

MASON, OHIO - AUGUST 16: Emma Raducanu of Great Britain shakes hands with Serena Williams of the United States after beating herin the first round of the women's singles at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 16, 2022 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)
MASON, OHIO – AUGUST 16: Emma Raducanu of Great Britain shakes hands with Serena Williams of the United States after beating herin the first round of the women’s singles at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 16, 2022 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

Williams, who is a 23-time Grand Slam champion, announced her retirement from the sport last week. In a statement on Instagram alongside her September Vogue cover, she said: “There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”

The 40-year-old is set to stop playing professionally after the US open, which starts on 29 August. Raducanu wasn’t even born when Williams made her professional debut in 1995, so the newcomer defeating the legend was a real passing the torch moment. After the match, Raducanu recalls seeing the icon play at Wimbledon when she was just seven years old. “I think that everyone can draw inspiration from her, myself included. I remember my first memory of watching her play live at Wimbledon, it was a day out with my first coach and . . . she was so dominant . . . she’s probably got the best serve ever and the greatest player of all time. To honestly share the court with her I was just really, really pleased and it was such an honour.”

For Raducanu, win or no win, sharing the court with the sporting great was a “gift”. The young star even confessed that she understood why fans were eager for Williams to win. “Even when you guys were cheering for her I was all for it,” she said. We love women supporting women!

Only four years into her professional career, Raducanu has so many opportunities ahead of her. After winning the US open last year and being named Sportswoman and Sports Personality of the Year by several outlets, her future looks bright. Let’s hope she learns from Williams’s incredible legacy.

Published by anthonyhayble

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