Emma Raducanu believes Serena Williams “changed the game” after spending two decades at the top of women’s tennis.
Williams, who hinted at retirement from tennis on Tuesday, is the most successful tennis player in the Open Era with 23 Grand Slam singles titles and has spent 319 weeks as the world No. 1.
After winning her first singles match in 14 months at the Canadian Open, an interview Vogue conducted with Williams was released where the American admitted “something’s got to give” and that she was “evolving away from tennis”.
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“She definitely changed the game,” Raducanu told the press following her first round defeat to Camila Giorgi at the Canadian Open.
“To dominate that, there’s not really been someone who’s dominated like her in the woman’s game so she really did change a lot in that respect.”
Williams is set to retire after the US Open, which takes place from August 29 – September 11, having turned professional in 1995.
Raducanu is in the early stages of her career and although the 19-year-old says she has never had a conversation with Williams, she is still inspired by her.
“It’s incredible her career that she’s achieved so much,” said Raducanu.
“To see her around in this US swing is really inspiring. She keeps playing because she obviously loves the game and that longevity of her career is something that a lot of the players, and me, all aspire to achieve as well.”
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Serena Williams’ 23 Grand Slam titles
7 x Australian Open - 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017
3 x French Open - 2002, 2013, 2015
7 x Wimbledon - 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016
6 x US Open - 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014
Other players have also hailed Williams’ achievements following the news of her likely retirement.
Coco Gauff, who was born in 2004 when Williams already had six Grand Slam titles to her name, says her compatriot is the “GOAT of GOATs”.
“I’ve learned a lot from them [Serena and sister Venus Williams],” said Gauff. “People always tell me that you’re going to be next whatever blah blah blah and Serena has been considered the GOAT for at least the second half of her career and she never succumbed to that pressure.
“I think she overcame it and I think that’s something I take from her and try to learn from it. Not that I’m at her level and experiencing the same pressure she is, but in the moment I try to emulate that.
“For me, I grew up watching her. That’s the reason why I play tennis and tennis being a predominantly white sport it definitely helped a lot because I saw somebody who looked like me dominating the game and it made me believe I could dominate too.”
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