Roger Federer calls for less pressure on ‘incredible’ Emma Raducanu after US Open heroics

Emma Raducanu: British teen wins US Open

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Roger Federer has spoken out on Emma Raducanu’s incredible rise to the top of the game. The 18-year-old was ranked down at No 338 in the world before receiving a Wimbledon wild card, but her real breakthrough came at the US Open. She became the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title as she stormed through ten matches without dropping a set, and shot up the rankigs to world No 23.

Raducanu put herself on the radar when she made it to the second week of her first Major, having received a last-minute wild card to play at Wimbledon.

She retired while a set and a break down to Ajla Tomljanovic in the fourth round after suffering with breathing difficulties, and left the All England Club ranked at a new career high of world No 179.

While the Bromley teenager’s Wimbledon antics were impressive enough for someone of her age and ranking, she went one better at the US Open and became an overnight household name when she shocked the sporting world by winning the title as a qualifier.

Not only was she the first qualifier to make a Major final, let alone win it, she was also the first player in history to capture the title on just her second appearance at Grand Slam level.

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The 18-year-old’s historic triumph catapulted her up the rankings to No 23 in the world, and she has since climbed one place higher.

Everyone from the Queen to 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic praised Raducanu for her achievement, and she has now earned recognition from none other than Roger Federer.

The Swiss tennis star revealed he had even been following the young Brit during Wimbledon, and spoke of the stresses he felt many young stars like Raducanu and the likes of Naomi Osaka were under.

“I was following Emma Raducanu’s incredible run in Wimbledon and also Naomi Osaka these last few years – it’s been amazing, both of their stories,” he told GQ.

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“But it hurts when you see what happens and when they don’t feel well. The stress is so great.”

The 40-year-old admitted he thought much of the pressure on young stars had some from social media – something he never had to deal with at the start of his career.

He continued: “And I think a lot has to be down to social media: the first ten years of my life there was no social media, maybe I had just a website, then the next ten years social media was everywhere.”

Federer also declared that press conferences needed to change, after Naomi Osaka caused a stir by announcing she would not be participating in them during the French Open.

The four-time Major champion said she was happy to pay fines as a sanction but when the Grand Slams threatened her with suspension, she withdrew ahead of her second-round match and later pulled out of Wimbledon, admitting she had suffered with bouts of depression during her career.

Her decision sparked a debate on the arguably-dated format of the press conference, and Federer has now agreed that there needed to be a “revolution”.

Continuing his thoughts on the pressures on young stars, he said: “Also, in regards to this, the press situation does need to be reconsidered. I think I’m one of the athletes who’s done the most press – ever! And I agree that it’s always the same. Always.

“I think players, the tournaments, journalists, we need to sit down together in a room and go, ‘OK, what would work for you and what works for us…’ We need a revolution. Or at least an evolution of where we are today.”

The former world No 1 continued: “I think we do need to help, coach and mentor the younger generation more. I can’t imagine going through the beginning of my career with social media; I have no clue how I would have handled it.

“For every ten nice comments there’s always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on. It’s a horrible situation. Even when I am feeling down I know I need to act a certain way in front of the world’s press. We need to remember that tennis players are athletes and professionals, but we are also human too.”

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