Emma Raducanu has been enjoying the support of England captain Harry Kane as she looks to take the next steps in her tennis career at the Australian Open.
The 20-year-old goes into 2023 feeling positive about her prospects and appears to have overcome an untimely ankle injury ahead of a first-round meeting against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch on Monday.
Raducanu’s remarkable US Open triumph in 2021 put her under an intense global spotlight and the British No 1 has revealed that the Tottenham striker is among the various athletes she has spoken to for advice.
“Harry’s obviously such a great role model and very professional and I think to be able to speak to him is really cool,” said Raducanu, who was pictured training in a Tottenham shirt last year. “We haven’t spoken so much but he’s obviously an outstanding player, and it’s just pretty cool isn’t it? For someone of his achievements, it’s pretty remarkable how he’s so humble. I respect him a lot.
“It’s obviously really cool to speak to some other athletes. I think it’s good because we all kind of understand what each other are thinking and going through at times. And at the end of the day they’re just really cool people as well.”
Raducanu said she felt like Disney character Hannah Montana – a teenage girl who leads a secret double life as a pop star – in the wake of her US Open triumph when she collected her MBE from Windsor Castle dressed in Dior before getting changed for training in the back of a car.
While preparing for Australia during the off-season, Raducanu was invited to the World Cup final in Doha and relished watching Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé. “I think watching it as an athlete you probably have a little bit of empathy as to what they’re feeling and what they’re thinking in those pressure situations and moments,” she said.
“You appreciate a lot more what they’re able to do under such circumstances. But then you also have a little bit of envy of, ‘Oh, I wish I was playing a tennis match on this scale with all this support’.
“The atmosphere was insane in the stadium. I’ve never heard anything like it.”