Emma Raducanu recalls Serena Williams experience that was 'highlight of year' before clash

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Emma Raducanu has opened up on a “special” memory of watching Serena Williams dismantle an opponent during a trip to Wimbledon back when the Brit was around just seven years of age. The 2021 US Open champion shed light on the experience ahead of her eagerly-anticipated clash with the soon-to-be-retiring Williams at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Monday night.

With Williams having indicated she will call time on her illustrious career following this year’s US Open later in the month, Raducanu is set to come up against the 23-time Grand Slam champion for what is likely to be the one and only time. Ahead of the contest, the 19-year-old revealed her most treasured memory of Williams, which saw her witness the American at the peak of her powers following a trip to Wimbledon back when Raducanu was just a kid.

“I remember the highlight of my year was when I was young, at a tennis club, my first coach would take me and one other boy to Wimbledon on my day out,” Raducanu divulged. “We’d take the tram there. We got on to Centre Court somehow and we watched her annihilate someone one on one.

“That was just really cool to see her live. That day out with my first coach, I was so excited for the day. I think that was a really special time in my life, a memory that I’ll always have.”

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Since then, Raducanu’s only interactions with the 40-year-old have been the occasional brushing of shoulders in hallways and the briefest of training sessions on adjacent courts in Toronto last week. Now, years after watching Williams demolish an opponent from the stands, the Brit will have the honour of facing the sporting icon from the other side of the net herself.

To say the teenager is looking forward to facing a player she considers “the best of all time” is an understatement. Raducanu said: “I think it’s gonna be an exciting match. I’m looking forward to it. It’s an amazing opportunity to play probably the best tennis player of all time. It’s probably going to be my last opportunity to ever play her.

“I think that, for our careers to have crossed over, I think I’m really fortunate that I get to play her. Whatever happens, I think it’s gonna be a really good experience for me and something that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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