hHello and welcome to a special occasion at the Royal Albert Hall as Emma Raducanu is playing her first game on home soil since winning the US Open in September.
Since her notable win in New York, Raducanu has been unsuccessful in three events and turned 19 earlier this month.
But with her season coming to an end, Raducanu can get the admiration of British fans today when she takes on Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse in an exhibition match.
Leading up to the game, former UK number 1 Annabel Croft said Raducanu’s unprecedented rise means she has missed some key developmental steps.
“She’s going back to the beginning, doing it the other way around, and now doing her training,” said Croft.
“It’s an extraordinary situation that most of the players she faces have three, four, maybe ten years more experience than them.
“Now she has to go through all these games where she has to get to know different situations that take time. She’s so young, but I think she’s smart enough to handle it. “
Fresh from her first vacation in seven years – Raducanu’s new coach Torben Beltz, will probably not be present at the event. However, the competitive advantage of the players will be. “We are very happy to be playing against each other,” said Ruse. “It’s funny because Emma told me, ‘Gabby, take it easy on me – it’s just a show match.'”
After climbing a staggering 324 places in the WTA rankings to enter the top 20 in the world this year, Raducanu’s Homecoming – tickets for which sold out within a week – will give a taste of the hype and attention the Star will get on tour during her first full season next year.
“We signed Emma to play before the US Open – the fact that she won it was a huge blow for us,” said Paul McCann, the vice president of tennis events at IMG, the agency that also owns Raducanu. managed. “It’s huge that the US Open Champion and the hottest quality in women’s tennis is coming to our event and playing. We’re all incredibly excited. “
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