Emma Raducanu says she feels “really fortunate” to be playing Serena Williams in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday.
Williams is expected to retire from tennis after revealing she is “evolving away” from the sport to focus on family and business commitments.
She could retire after the US Open, which takes place from August 29 to September 11, so Raducanu is excited to make the most of the opportunity.
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“I think it’s going to be an exciting match,” the British No. 1 said.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s an amazing opportunity to play probably the best tennis player of all time. It’s probably going to be my last opportunity to ever play her.
“I think that, for our careers to have crossed over, I’m really fortunate that I get to play her. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a really good experience for me and something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Raducanu is in the early stages of her career compared to Williams who’s playing career may be about to come to an end after turning professional in 1995.
Although Raducanu says she has never had a conversation with Williams she feels “inspired” by the 23-time Grand Slam champion and isn’t too fussed about the result of the match.
“Expectations, I don’t really know, I don’t really care,” added Raducanu. “I just want to go out there and, one, enjoy the match that I’m going to play whenever I do play it.
“It’s a great gift to play the best on her way out from the sport. So I’m just looking forward to that.”
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Raducanu’s memories of Williams
When Raducanu was born, Williams had already won four Grand Slams, including the US Open on two occasions.
The Briton revealed she saw the American play at Wimbledon when she was a child.
“I remember the highlight of my year was when I was young, at a tennis club, my first coach would take me and one other boy to Wimbledon on my day out,” said Raducanu.
“We’d take the tram there. We got on to Centre Court somehow and we watched her annihilate someone one and one.
“That was just really cool to see her live. That day out with my first coach, I was so excited for the day. I think that was a really special time in my life, a memory that I’ll always have.”
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