Emma Raducanu Australian Open 2022

Childhood rival says Emma Raducanu ‘inspired and motivated’ other British youngsters

Sonny Kartal reveals Emma Raducanu winning the US Open “inspired and motivated” other British youngsters to believe that their dreams are “not unachievable.”

19-year-old Raducanu grabbed the attention of the world when she breezed her way to the US Open title as a qualifier without dropping a single set, becoming the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam.

En route to such a monumental victory she beat players with the ilk of World number five six Maria Sakkari and Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic.

20-year-old Kartal was one of Raducanu’s contemporaries at the grassroots level of the British game. However, she had been impacted by injuries between ages of 14 and 17. In that time, she suffered an injury to her left wrist before two abdominal tears.

Since returning from injury in October, Kartal has gone on to win 26 of her 28 matches. Such fine form saw her win four titles out of a possible six.

As a result, she now finds herself ranked 397th in the World, just 58 places below Raducanu when she reached the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier.

Speaking to the PA News Agency, Kartal said “we grew up playing each other. I think my earliest memory is maybe under-nines up until under-14s.

“We’d be in the same national tournaments and we’d always end up meeting each other in the finals and we’d alternate almost every week who won.”

When asked about Raducanu’s shock Flushing Meadows success, Kartal said it inspired both herself and almost every other player who competed against Raducanu at a young age to strive to believe their wildest dreams are attainable.

She said “it has inspired me and I think I can speak for the others who grew up playing around her that it’s nothing but inspiration, a little kick that what we’re all trying to achieve, it’s doable, it’s not a dream that’s so unachievable. It was motivation for all of us.”

The United Kingdom’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have been criticised for a lack of financial investment into British grassroots tennis.

These criticisms come as a lack of depth in the women’s field blights the British game. The fact that Raducanu is the only British woman within the WTA top 100 only proves to further legitimise these concerns.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.