Raducanu In Stuttgart: ‘Who Doesn’t Want To Win A Porsche?’

Emma Raducanu (photo: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix)

STUTTGART/WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

While much of the spotlight at this week’s WTA 500 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will be focused on new No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland, who is playing in her first WTA Tour event since taking over the top spot in the rankings, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding 19-year-old Briton Emma Raducanu. After all, the World No. 12 is playing in her first Tour event on clay. Besides making her first appearance in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Raducanu is also a Porsche Brand Ambassador. It’s a reflection of both her love of Porsche and motorsport.

Ahead of her opening-round match against Australian qualifier Storm Sanders on Wednesday, the eighth-seeded Raducanu shared her thoughts on making her debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in an interview with Porsche.

“I am excited to play my first ever WTA tournament on clay,” Raducanu said. “It’s nice that it’s the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. I’ve been following the event since I was young and for me it was always the tournament where the winner gets a Porsche. It was unique and it has stayed on my mind.

“Since being on the Tour, I have heard so many good things about the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. I know it’s one of the most popular tournaments on the calendar which is no wonder. Who doesn’t want to win a Porsche?”

Raducanu was drawn in Swiatek’s quarter of the draw and the two young stars could meet in Friday’s quarterfinal round. The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix features seven of the current WTA Top 10 players. Besides Swiatek, other Top 10 players in Raducanu’s half of the draw include No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, ranked fifth, and No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova, ranked seventh.

After playing on clay for the first time over the weekend for Great Britain in the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers in Prague, where she split a pair of matches against the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova (win) and Marketa Vondrousova (loss), Raducanu is motivated to do well in Stuttgart.

“It will be challenging but I have already won matches against some of these players in my short experience on tour,” Raducanu said. “It would be very motivating to add to my wins against the best players in the world, especially on clay where I have little experience as there aren’t really any clay courts in the UK. This clay season with the French Open as the highlight will be an interesting challenge, but one I am looking forward to.”

Raducanu was asked to describe her interest and devotion to motorsport, something she developed as a child growing up in Great Britain. “I think it is a very cool activity and I love the feel of going fast and racing,” she said. “The extreme accelerating and the hard braking, but I’m also interested in the mechanics and engineering.

“I started early as a 6-year-old girl going karting and it made me feel different from other girls and boys in a very special and positive way. Much cooler. I had so much fun once I started to get good and confident at it. Later, motocross was a step up in challenge from go karting. But, also, lots of fun and let’s be honest, which kid doesn’t like getting dirty in the mud?”

Does Raducanu find similarities between motorsport and tennis? Yes. “Motorsport is about continual improvement,” she said. “It’s what I love. And it bears similarities to tennis. On court, you also have to always be concentrated and have to react instinctively to new solutions and find quick solutions. One invests lots of time and effort preparing and practicing for marginal gains.

“But the differences in motorsports are far more minimal than in tennis as we’re talking about milliseconds and seconds. And there’s another difference: the consequences in tennis are not so serious when you make a mistake.”

Raducanu, who recently became a Porsche Brand Ambassador, admits her favorite Porsche is a 911. “Two of my former coaches drove a 911,” she recalled. “Whenever I would turn up to practice in the morning before school, I would see their Porsches. I’d go ‘wow. I really like that car. I really want that car.’ And then growing up, I would go to Brands Hatch and watch the Carrera Cup finals. Every generation of the 911 is so unique and so beautiful in its own distinct way. The car is a legend, a symbol for performance, image and style.”

Being a Porsche Brand Ambassador means a lot to Raducanu. Porsche, she admits, is a brand that fascinated her as child. “It’s really important for me to align with partners and brands that I really feel passionate about and that I identify with. Porsche is the perfect fit. I think the partnership is incredible and obviously I’m really excited to see what sort of exciting things we can do going forwards.”

Around the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

• No. 39 Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia saved a set point and beat No. 40 Zhang Shuai on her third match-point opportunity to advance with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) victory. She put away the match with an aggressive, swinging forehand volley winner – her 30th winner against Zhang – to close out the one-hour and 48-minute first-round match. Alexandrova outpointed her opponent 90-85.

“I tried to play every single point no matter what the score is,” Alexandrova said during her on-court interview. “I think [the match] was a pretty good start.”

Next, Alexandrova will play either No. 5 seed Anett Kontaveit or No. 17 Angelique Kerber in the second round.

• No. 31 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia made quick work of her first-round opponent, 103rd-ranked qualifier Chloe Paquet of France. Samsonova won 6-0, 6-0 in 59 minutes to advance to the second round against either No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova or No. 28 Petra Kvitova, both of the Czech Republic.

Samsonova won on her first match-point opportunity with a backhand winner that capped a nine-shot rally. She finished with 21 winners, broke Paquet six times and outpointed her 56-26.

“I’m really happy with this result because my last year on clay courts was not so good for me,” Samsonova said in an on-court interview. “I’m very happy with the way I played. It was a tough match. I had to play strong mentally and be focused on my game.

“I think I was more confident today and believed in my game.”

• In the doubles draw, Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic needed just 65 minutes to advance to the quarterfinal round. Playing for the first time as a team, Golubic and Vondrousova defeated Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway and Alexandra Panova of Russia, 6-3, 6-1, in 65 minutes. They struck 21 winners, made only seven unforced errors and converted four of 11 break point opportunities. Golubic and Vondrousova outpointed Eikeri and Panova 57-43.

• Also, Paula Badosa of Spain and Aryna Sabalenka proved to be a formidable combo as they showed during their 7-5, 7-5 victory over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur and Ellen Perez of Australia. Badosa and Sabalenka combined for 14 winners and converted four of seven break points to close out their win in an hour and 24 minutes They outpointed their opponents 73-59 in advancing to the quarterfinals and a possible matchup later this week against No. 1 seeds Coco Gauff of the United States and Zhang Shuai of China.

Monday’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix results

Tuesday’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix order of play

Maria Sakkari – Day off time for sightseeing

By the numbers

There are 15 recognized countries represented among the 28 players who comprise the singles main draw, including five from host nation Germany: Angelique Kerber, Laura Siegemund, Jule Niemeier, Eva Lys and Nastasja Schunk.

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