Emma Raducanu left former British No 1 Johanna Konta in ‘awe’ with US Open heroics

US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells

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Johanna Konta said she was left awestruck by Emma Raducanu’s performances at the US Open last month, as the 18-year-old surpassed all currently active female British players by winning the Grand Slam. The teenager also became the British number one due to her performances, overtaking far more experienced professionals like Konta and Heather Watson.

Raducanu also shot up to 22nd in the world rankings thanks to an unlikely win in what was only her second major tournament since turning pro.

Konta, 30, managed a career-high fourth in 2017 but has since slipped to 82nd, not helped by a series of injuries – the latest of which saw her miss the US Open and the current tournament in Indian Wells, where Raducanu is making her return after four weeks off.

As she couldn’t play at Flushing Meadows, Konta spent her time instead cheering on Raducanu as she pulled off one shock victory after another.

“Because it’s never been done before, it’s going to be one of those captivating moments in sporting history,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I was watching in awe. She really took it in her stride. I can imagine Emma taking everything in her stride.”

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“There is some bliss in naivety,” Konta continued, stating that Raducanu’s inexperience at the highest levels of the game may have helped her to cope with the pressure that usually intensifies as a player gets deeper into a Grand Slam.

“But you still have to show up and you still have to execute,” she added.

“She seems like someone who is very poised and aware of why she is doing what she is doing.

“She is incredibly bright and I think she applies that to her tennis as well. She’s an impressive young girl.”

While Raducanu has enjoyed a rapid rise in 2021, it has largely been a year to forget for her fellow Briton Konta.

After first-round exits at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, she won a WTA 250 event in Nottingham in early June and looked set to begin her Wimbledon campaign on a high.

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But she was forced to pull out of the event in SW19 after being identified as a close contact of someone who had tested positive for coronavirus, before missing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to catching the virus herself.

Still, despite that mix of poor form, injuries and rotten luck, Konta intends to keep her career going for as long as she can.

“The way my Grand Slam 2021 could be summed up is it was pretty rubbish,” she said.

“The body is taking a bit of a rest. Looking after it and doing my best to get it in a position to come back playing strong.

“I’m definitely not pleased, however I am a positive and generally happy person. There’s a lot to smile for so I keep that in mind.

“I’ve always looked to be playing for as long as my body allows and as long as I want to be playing.”

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