Home » ‘Incredible’ Emma Raducanu plays ‘best tennis’ of her life to inspire Britain to historic win | CNN

‘Incredible’ Emma Raducanu plays ‘best tennis’ of her life to inspire Britain to historic win | CNN



CNN
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Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu said she is playing the “best tennis” of her life, after inspiring Great Britain to victory over France in the Billie Jean King Cup on Saturday.

With Britain leading the tie 2-1, Raducanu came back from a set down to defeat France’s Diane Parry 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-1), giving her team an unassailable 3-1 lead and a spot in the new-look finals for the first time, apart from when Britain hosted the competition in 2022.

“Tennis-wise I have improved because I feel like I am playing the best tennis of my career and my life,” Raducanu said, per BBC Sport.

“To come through the moments that I did the last two days it took a strong character when the whole stadium is pretty much against you.”

Since spectacularly winning the 2021 US Open as an 18-year-old, Raducanu has struggled for form and fitness and not progressed past the second round of a grand slam. She eventually underwent surgery on both wrists and one of her ankles in May 2023 and missed both the French Open and Wimbledon last year to recover.

Even just playing in two consecutive three set matches in the Billie Jean King Cup marked an important achievement for her as she begins her ascent back up the rankings from her current spot as the world No. 302.

“To be able to put two matches like that back-to-back, three sets on clay against really tough opponents, it’s just testament to the work we’ve been doing,” she said in an on-court interview. “I knew it would pay off eventually, so I’m very pleased this weekend it was able to show.”

Playing France away on clay courts was a stern test for this British team which entered the tie as underdog and the pressure only mounted on Raducanu when her teammate Katie Boulter succumbed to a 6-2 6-0 defeat against Diane Parry in the tie’s opening match on Friday.

Raducanu then dropped the first set against Caroline Garcia later that evening before rallying to defeat the world No. 23 3-6 6-3 6-2 and level the tie at 1-1.

Boulter followed that up with a 7-5 6-0 victory against Clara Burel after an epic 72-minute first set that included one 20-minute, nine deuce game as the British No.1 managed to cling on and defend her serve.

It fell to Raducanu to seal the victory and she duly delivered with her come-from-behind win against Parry, sparking jubilant celebrations from the British team to mark its unlikely and historic win.

“I’m still in a bit of disbelief. The performances today from Katie and Emma were just incredible, they should be so proud of themselves,” Great Britain’s captain Anne Keothavong said, per the BBC.

“The players have done it, the team have worked together really well, and we deserve our spot (in the Billie Jean King Cup finals),” she added, per the tournament’s website.

“That’s where I believe this team belongs. The girls are all hungry to go out there and perform.”