Emma Raducanu revealed she was inspired by Andy Murray’s battling display to win her debut match at the Australian Open.
The US Open winner put in an impressive performance to beat Sloane Stephens in the first round in Melbourne.
After winning the opening set 6-0, she was pushed all the way to three sets and took inspiration from Murray’s grit and determination.
The three-time Grand Slam winner survived a gruelling five-set battle with Nikoloz Basilashvili just a few hours before Raducanu took to the court.
Raducanu said: “When I was in the third set I actually thought, ‘Andy was up a set then he got pushed to five but he fought back so hard and took the decider’, so, when I went to three, I was also thinking, ‘Actually, I can fight back and win, fight like he did’. I was definitely inspired by him.”
It was Murray’s first win at Melbourne Park for five years and his first appearance since he admitted he could retire due to a hip injury in 2019.
In the match three years ago, he still managed to push Roberto Bautista Agut to five sets prior to resurfacing surgery, and among those watching on TV back home was Raducanu.
“I’ve watched so many of Andy’s matches, all his finals here in Australia, but his match against Agut was some of the best fighting I’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s great to have a role model like him leading British tennis.”
Raducanu had struggled for form since the US Open and there were plenty of mitigating factors to go along with it.
She joined a new coach, Torben Beltz, and also was hit with a bout of COVID-19 just before Christmas.
The 19-year-old suffered a tough 6-0, 6-1 defeat in Sydney last week, but she appears to be getting back on track.
“If you would have asked me a week ago after Sydney if I could turn it around this quickly, I would have been surprised, pleasantly,” said Raducanu.
“I definitely am very proud of myself how far I’ve come over the last few weeks and just having that positive attitude after getting one game on the scoreboard last week, to not let that defeat me and actually just keep working and chipping away, and I was rewarded for it.”
Having stayed in school to complete her A Levels last spring, Raducanu has only been a full-time tennis player for a few months, and she is likely to pursue more academic goals in the future.
She is working on her Mandarin in Melbourne but the day job is very much taking precedence.
“I’m actually speaking Mandarin with my mum and some of the Chinese players here,” said the 17th seed.
“But I literally spend 12 hours a day at the club. Everyone in my team is like, ‘What are you doing?’ But I feel like I don’t know where the time goes.”
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Source: TalkSport.com Tennis