‘I’m a qualifier, there’s NO pressure on me!’: Emma Raducanu, 18, laughs off talk she is under pressure ahead of Saturday’s US Open final – as she credits Tim Henman for playing a key role in her fairytale run
Emma Raducanu scoffed at suggestions she is feeling the pressure of a US Open final after beating Greece No 1 Maria Sakkari on Friday morning.
The British teenager, 18 produced one of the greatest displays in recent decades from a British player at a Grand Slam as she bullied Sakkari in a 6-1, 6-4 win to tee up a final on Saturday against fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez.
‘Is there any expectation?’ Raducanu asked jokingly. ‘I’m a qualifier so there’s no pressure on me!’
Emma Raducanu laughed at talk she will be under massive pressure in the US Open final
The British teenager produced another incredible performance in her semi-final encounter
She added: ‘Honestly the time here in New York has gone so fast, I’ve been taking care of each day and before you know it three weeks later I’m in the final, I can’t actually believe it.
‘Since I’ve been here I’ve had great support. Playing under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium is one of the most iconic things in tennis. I was so excited.’
Before she sealed match point the youngster looked over to Amazon Prime’s touchline reporter, former British No 1 Tim Henman.
Henman has worked closely with Raducanu in recent weeks and she was keen to point out his influence in this incredible run to the final.
Raducanu (left) praised former British No 1 Tim Henman (right) for his recent words of advice
She added: ‘Tim is honestly such a big inspiration. He has been helping me to treat one point at a time.
‘You can’t get ahead of yourself and just stay present. Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself.’
Sakkari had looked formidable en route to the final four, already eliminating 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu and No 4 seed Karolina Pliskova.
But nothing seemed to go right for the Greek star and she could only look helplessly to her British coach Tom Hill as Raducanu dominated from start to finish.
‘She plays fearless. She goes for it,’ Sakkari said.
‘She does the right thing. She has nothing to lose. She’s enjoying herself.
‘But we were all absent from the court playing against her. I saw Belinda (Bencic) yesterday. I think she would agree that we did not bring our best performance.’
Her defeated opponent Sakkari believes Raducanu thrived because she ‘has nothing to lose’
Rounding out her interview, Raducanu was asked whether she had paid close attention to Fernandez’s impressive win over No 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka.
‘Honestly today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself,’ Raducanu said.
‘While I have the moment I just really want to thank my team, the LTA and everyone back home for their support – I wouldn’t be here without it.
‘Tonight playing under the lights on Arthur Ashe, it’s one of the most iconic things in tennis and I was just so excited to come out here and play in front of you guys. Thank you for coming.’