Emma Raducanu vs Virginia Wade: How far Raducanu has to go to become the next Wade

Raducanu 'will dominate next decade' says former champ

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Rising British tennis star Emma Raducanu, 18, will face Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 19, in the US Open finals today. Raducanu is the youngest Grand Slam finalist since Maria Sharapova clinched a glorious Wimbledon victory in 2004. And the Bromley-based star is already drawing comparisons to another British tennis legend, Virginia Wade, who secured seven major tennis titles during her career.

According to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Wade’s Singles Career High Ranking stood at a peak of No 2 in 1975.

And of course, Raducanu is still relatively early on in her career, so she has a long way to go before she reaches the heights of Wade’s glory in the 1970s.

Raducanu was world No 345 at the start of 2021, and No 338 in the first round of Wimbledon earlier this year.

After three rounds of success at Wimbledon, Raducanu retired from her fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulty.

But her ranking was boosted to world No 179, reaching the US Open ranked No 150.

And regardless of the outcome of the US Open finals match, Raducanu will still reach at least world No 32.

If Raducanu wins the US Open this weekend, she will have secured one Grand Slam title but will need two more to tie with Wade for the singles record.

Wade won the US Open singles in 1968, the Australian Open in 1972, and Wimbledon in 1977.

Wade also won the French Open doubles in 1973, the US Open doubles in 1973 and 1975, and the Australian Open doubles in 1973.

But if Raducanu doesn’t win this weekend, she will still be the first qualifier in tennis history to reach a Grand Slam final, a truly impressive achievement.

In a comment piece for The Sun this weekend, Wade said she would be rooting for Raducanu “all the way” at the US Open final.

She wrote: “It’s 53 years since I won the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York and I’ve been proud to hold the British record of the three Grand Slam titles for so long.

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“But I think Emma Raducanu is a superstar and I’d be thrilled if she took over that place in tennis history. I’ll be rooting for her all the way tonight.

“I give her a slight edge against Leylah Fernandez. Although only 18, Emma has extra physical powers other players don’t seem to know how to handle.”

And touching on the subject of Raducanu’s future career, Wade told ITV News: “Without question I think Emma is the new star of British tennis.

“There’s no question she’s just got special qualities, she’s good in all departments.

“She’s still young, you don’t know how it’s going to evolve, but without anything going wrong, she should be set up there with the top girls for a long time.”

Wade was watching Raducanu’s match against the US’ Shelby Rogers which led her to the quarter-finals, and Raducanu addressed Wade as an “absolute legend” in her post-match interview.

She said: “Thank you so much for watching my match. I really appreciate it.

“You’re an absolute legend so I’m really honoured to have had you here.

“I’m just going to try to do my best each round and let’s see how far it goes.”

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