Andy Murray believes Emma Raducanu’s “very special” US Open win is a “huge opportunity” for British tennis to attract more people to the sport.
Raducanu, 18, caused one of the biggest-ever Grand Slam shocks as she came through qualifying to win her maiden major in New York.
She is Britain’s first female major champion since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
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“It was incredible what she did there,” said three-time Grand Slam champion Murray after beating Yannick Maden in the first round at the Rennes Open.
“I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good. She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.
“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.
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“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives, hopefully, the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport. It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”
Murray: I need to improve my ranking
While Raducanu won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set at the US Open, Murray was beaten in five sets in the first round by third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
He returned to action on the second-tier ATP Challenger Tour on Tuesday and eased past Maden 6-3 6-1 in just 74 minutes.
Now ranked No 116 in the world, Murray says he is keen to move up the rankings so he can avoid tough first-round encounters like he got in New York.
“I’ve had a lot of matches this year, and my body is fine. The goal for the last few years has been to try and improve my ranking. For that, I have to compete often. I still feel that I can play at a very high level. Every time I go to a tournament I play a top player from the start, it’s not easy. I have to improve my ranking to avoid this. It’s a very nice venue here, everything is fine, the hotel is close. It’s great and I’m happy to be here.
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“A lot of Challengers have good players, but it’s very special here. We have three former top-10 players in the tournament, that’s rare. We should see some great matches. I’m expecting a big tournament. There are only good players here who have dedicated their lives to their favourite sport, very professional, that’s great.”
Up next for Murray will be either French qualifier Manuel Guinard or Russia’s Roman Safiullin.
Murray is the fifth seed at the tournament behind Richard Gasquet, Arthur Rinderknech, Benjamin Bonzi and Gilles Simon. Former world No 10 Lucas Pouille is also playing the tournament.
Murray will head back across the Atlantic after the tournament as it has been it has been confirmed that he has taken a wild card into the San Diego ATP 250 event, which starts on September 27.
He is also expected to play at the rescheduled Indian Wells Masters event that starts on October 7. The tournament is one of only two Masters events, along with Monte Carlo, that Murray has not won. He twice made the semi-finals in 2007 and 2015.
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