‘She definitely changed the game’: Emma Raducanu prepares to battle ‘inspiring’ Serena Williams on 23-time Grand Slam champion’s retirement tour, with duo set for first round clash in Cincinnati
- Emma Raducanu is preparing to face Serena Williams in Cincinnati this week
- The Brit will take on Williams in the first round of the Western and Southern Open
- American Williams, 40, is preparing for retirement after 23 Grand Slam titles
- Raducanu spoke positively of Williams, saying it will be ‘incredible’ to play her
For so long, Serena Williams was a name to avoid on tour.
Now, the retiring 23-time Grand Slam champion represents a bucket-list challenge for anyone who grew up idolising her.
Those who are yet to test themselves against Williams want to play a part in her farewell tour and, while the likes of Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Ons Jabeur hope for that chance, Emma Raducanu will have it in Cincinnati this week.
Emma Raducanu (above) is preparing to face 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams
40-year-old Williams will retire after the US Open in Flushing Meadows, her home tournament
On one side of the court will be a 19-year-old at the start of her career.
On the other will be a 40-year-old legend at the end of hers. It is a first meeting that comes days after Williams announced her retirement.
US Open champion Raducanu spoke warmly about the sporting icon ahead of their first-round clash.
‘It’s incredible,’ said Raducanu, seeded 10th at the Western and Southern Open.
Raducanu said: ‘There’s not been someone who has dominated like her in the women’s game.’
‘She has achieved so much. To see her around in this US swing is really inspiring. She keeps playing because she obviously loves the game.
‘That longevity of a career is something that a lot of the players and me especially, we aspire to achieve as well. She definitely changed the game.
‘There’s not been someone who has dominated like her in the women’s game.’
The winner of Williams against Raducanu will face Victoria Azarenka or Kaia Kanepi.
The winner of the match-up will face Victoria Azarenka or Kaia Kanepi in the second round
After Cincinnati, Williams will turn her attention to the US Open. Flushing Meadows is a fitting setting for a final farewell.
Dan Evans’ impressive run at the National Bank Open has been halted by Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated the Briton in three sets in Montreal.
The 32-year-old British No 2 was eventually outlasted 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 in the semi-final.