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Halep: “Emma Raducanu will be one of the world’s best players”

The former world No 1 says the US Open champion may need time to get used to the rigours of the Tour but is well equipped to be a champion

Simona Halep of Romania during practice at the 2021 Internazionali BNL d'Italia WTA 1000 tournament Simona Halep of Romania during practice at the 2021 Internazionali BNL d’Italia WTA 1000 tournament Credit: ZM / Panoramic

Former world No 1 Simona Halep believes US Open champion Emma Raducanu has everything she needs to make it to the top of the sport.

The Romanian said it may take the 18-year-old time to get used to the rigours of week in, week out life on the WTA Tour but is confident the Briton will go on to more big things.

“If she achieved already the grand slam title, I think she’s able to achieve everything,” Halep told reporters on Monday. “She has now the experience of winning the biggest tournament in tennis. I think she can, yeah, easy she can go in top 10, I think soon, sooner than everybody thinks because already she’s close to that. She has a bright future, and for sure, she will be one of the best players in the world.”

Raducanu’s US Open victory thrust her into the spotlight and the Briton is sure to be the focus of attention at home and wherever she plays. Halep said people should be patient with her as she learns the ropes.

“Definitely,” she said. “The pressure is not great for a player. Even if she’s so young, I think she feels the pressure, it’s normal. Everybody does. You guys better enjoy her results, her tennis, the way she is, because she’s super nice and wait for her to grow up a little bit in this level because she just jumped now. She did something great, and probably – it’s just my opinion – she will need some time to to see how it is every week to be there, and then she will become stronger, much stronger. “

Emma Raducanu, à Indian Wells en 2021
Emma Raducanu – Zuma Press

Halep and Raducanu on court in Transylvania this week

Halep and Raducanu are both in Romania this week for the Transylvania Open, a chance for Halep to get back to winning ways on home soil after an injury-hit year and for Raducanu to impress in the land of her father.

The British teenager, who lost her opener in Indian Wells on her first outing after the US Open, begins against Polona Hercog on Tuesday while top seed Halep opens against a young Romanian, Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Halep said she was hugely impressed by the way Raducanu came through qualifying to win the US Open.

“What she achieved is unbelievable, and it’s all credit to her because she played so well and she played so many matches,” she said. “I think her mental (strength) was very strong and also the game, she showed the great tennis. Very fast, very close to the baseline. And I think the movement also was also great.”

Halep on Raducanu saying she was her hero: “I hope I inspired her”

Raducanu may also take the time to sound out Halep this week, having long revealed her admiration for the two-time Grand Slam champion.

“I didn’t speak with her about the tennis and stuff like this, I just congratulated her,” Halep said. “We didn’t get so close yet, probably. It’s an honour to hear that (she was Raducanu’s hero). Now she’s a grand slam champion, so she’s an idol for other kids. It’s a nice thing, a nice feeling to hear this. And hopefully I inspired her.”

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