Emma Raducanu gets huge praise from idol Simona Halep and backed to be ‘one of the best’

Emma Raducanu has shown ‘ruthless streak’ says commentator

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Simona Halep has backed Emma Raducanu to quickly break into the world’s top 10 – and warned she will become “much stronger” with more experience at the top level.

The Romanian star was speaking before the Transylvanian Open where the British No 1 will make only her second appearance since her US Open triumph.

Raducanu will play world No 123 Polona Hercog of Slovenia in Cluj-Napoca on Wednesday. The Bromley teenager became the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam and she is now up to world No 23.

And former world No 1 Halep said: “What she achieved is unbelievable and it’s all credit to her because she played so well and she played so many matches.

“I think her mentality was very strong and also her game. She played great tennis, very fast, very close to the baseline and I think the movement also was great.

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“She has already won a Grand Slam title and I think she is able to achieve everything. She now has the experience of winning the biggest tournament in tennis.

“I think she can easily get into the top 10 sooner than everybody thinks because already she is close to that. Yeah, she has a bright future and for sure, she will be one of the best players in the world.”

Halep, who turned 30 last month, enjoyed a much slower journey to the top of tennis. She lost three Grand Slam finals before winning the 2018 French Open – her 35th major.

The Romanian then added the Wimbledon title in 2019. Raducanu, by contrast, won at Flushing Meadows in her second Grand Slam appearance.

Halep added: “Even if she is so young I think she feels the pressure, it’s normal, everybody does. You guys should enjoy her tennis results.

“She is super nice and we just need to wait for her to grow up a little bit at this level because she just jumped up the rankings.

“She did something great and probably, it’s just my opinion, she will need some time to see how it is every week to be there. And then she will become stronger, much stronger.”

Raducanu’s father Ian is from Romania and she has named Halep as one of her idols.

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“I didn’t speak with her about tennis, I just congratulated her,” said the world No.18 who faces another Romanian Gabriela Ruse in the opening round.

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“We didn’t get so close yet. It is an honour to hear that, now she is a Grand Slam champion, so she is an idol for other kids. It is a nice feeling to hear this and hopefully I inspired her.”

The WTA 250 event started in the Transylvanian capital today with no crowds because of an increase in Covid 19 levels in Romania.

But top seed Halep, who is scheduled to face Raducanu in the semi-finals, hopes fans might be back to watch later in the week.

“It’s super sad that this decision was taken because they did everything right,” she said. “The court, the stadium is huge and I don’t see any problem for that.

“But every day we are waiting for this to change and maybe we have some fans before we finish this tournament.”

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