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Emma Raducanu hails ‘inspirational’ Serena Williams as ‘the greatest of all time’

Emma Raducanu hailed ‘inspirational’ Serena Williams as ‘the greatest of all time’ after beating American tennis star who refused to stay for a post-match interview and failed to show up for press conference

  • Raducanu told the audience: ‘I think we should honor Serena and her great career’
  • Williams, who has 23 career titles, announced his retirement from tennis last week
  • It’s a big win for the tenth-placed Briton, who has recently struggled with injury

Emma Raducanu touted Serena Williams as ‘the greatest of all time’ after beating her 6-4 6-0 in their first and likely last encounter – but the American didn’t hang around to hear her words after she quickly left the field.

Williams, 40, stayed on court for a rare loser interview following her straight-set defeat to Belinda Bencic in Canada last week, a day after she announced her retirement.

But on this occasion, she made a quick exit despite the organizers in Cincinnati setting up champagne for an on-field ceremony. She also chose not to attend the press conference afterwards.

Raducanu, 19, told the interviewer: “I think we should all honor Serena and her amazing career. I am so grateful for the experience of being able to play her and for crossing our careers.

“Everything she has achieved is so inspiring and it was a real honor to share the court with her. “To me tonight was a game to play the best of all time – who knows how many more chances we’ll have to share the field.”

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the game and said it was an honor to play against her

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the game and said it was an honor to play against her

The 40-year-old quickly left court after a ruthless Raducanu defeated her

The 40-year-old quickly left court after a ruthless Raducanu defeated her

Raducanu made just one unforced mistake in her win over Williams and plans to use all the momentum she can in her next match against another WTA Tour veteran in Victoria Azarenka.

“I think it’s important to really cherish the wins because I think at least this year taught me that the wins aren’t easy,” said Raducanu, who was struggling with blisters on her hands.

“It doesn’t matter what win that is, it means a lot to any athlete, and I’m definitely going to take it in, I’m really proud of myself.”

Raducanu added: “It’s a fast turnover tomorrow, and I probably have 12 hours before I get back on site. I’m playing against another slam champion, so obviously it’s going to be very difficult. I’m just going to try to prepare as best I can.’

Williams struggled to find consistency in just her fourth game of the season, giving up 12 unforced errors while making only 11 first-round winners at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, the tenth-seeded Briton got into her rhythm early on, breaking the 23-time champion twice in the opening set before pulling away in the second to claim her 12th win of the season.

The young Briton defeated Williams 6-4 6-0 in their first and likely last meeting on the pitch

The young Briton defeated Williams 6-4 6-0 in their first and likely last meeting on the pitch

Raducanu applauded her opponent off the track after an impressive win in Cincinnati

Raducanu applauded her opponent off the track after an impressive win in Cincinnati

Belarusian former world number one Azarenka defeated Kaia Kanepi in the opening round.

Looking ahead to the match, Raducanu said: “I remember more recently when she played in the US Open and made it to the final in 2020 during the bubble, I was studying for my exams.

“I hadn’t played tennis in two, three months, and I had a little bit of a dream that one day I’d play in Ashe (Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows), and one day I’ll be at that level and I’ll play this great players. Everything felt so far away.’

The young Briton acknowledges fans as she walks onto the track to face Williams

The young Briton acknowledges fans as she walks onto the track to face Williams

Raducanu was in a good mood in an interview after her win, which followed numerous injuries

Raducanu was in a good mood in an interview after her win, which followed numerous injuries

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