Whatever form either player is in, it will be an almighty occasion. Serena Williams, an absolute legend in the sports world, is doing well as a professional tennis player. Just getting started, Emma Raducanu set the tennis world on fire in 2021 when she won the US Open as a qualifier.
The Cincinnati toss gods pitted them against each other, giving us a first-round blockbuster. What does this epic clash of generations have in store for us?
Serena Williams vs. Emma Raducanu: Battle of the Generations
Serena is coming to an end
Considering the form of each current player, this encounter may not seem so exciting to some. Quite possibly the greatest tennis player of all time, Serena has only played three singles matches this year. His long return from injury has been tricky, and it has resulted in a lot of lost time on the pitch. As many know, Williams is more than just a tennis player. She is a fantastic businesswoman, a wonderful mother and an inspiration to so many.
His tennis is no longer at the level of before, which is not at all surprising. She is 40 years old and has had to deal with major injuries lately. To come back from that to her age in such a physically demanding sport as tennis is incredible in itself, and everything she produces on the court has to be considered nothing less than brilliant.
In her recent very touching and moving article for Vogue, Serena spoke at length about her career, her upcoming retirement from the sport and much more. What’s great about this latter part of her career is that she can go out on her own terms and not have her hands taken off by injury. Even if she is unable to win tournaments, matches or sets, it is her goodbye and the tennis world is grateful to her.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has given her all and more to the sport, and her mere presence at these tournaments is enough to satisfy most. Of course, it would be amazing to see her win another title – a victory at the US Open to reach 24th place would be the icing on the cake of a career that transcends sport. Although this is unlikely to happen, she deserves her chance to try.
Raducanu is still learning as a professional player
Raducanu is doing everything she can to adjust to her new life as a WTA player. She achieved immense fame last year when she won the US Open at the age of 18, qualifying to do so (without dropping a set). She is the only player, male or female, to have achieved this. It was such a sensational and impressive achievement that the tennis world may never see her again.
It has been widely acknowledged that 2022 will be a difficult season for the Briton. Sports fans who know little about tennis would have thought that by winning the US Open, she would immediately become one of the best players competing for all Grand Slam tournaments. That’s just not how tennis works.
To put it into perspective, Raducanu was still making her A-Levels when she made her breakthrough at Wimbledon last year. She’s only played a handful of mainline touring events in 2021. Yes, her fairytale run in New York was mesmerizing. Yes, she has shown herself to be a phenomenal player. Should people have expected her to become a consistent world player next in 2022? Absolutely not.
Getting used to life on the WTA main circuit is very difficult. His body took a beating due to the physicality of competing week in and week out against top players, causing a number of mid-game dropouts. His win/loss record in 2022 currently stands at 11/14, fueling his many critics with ammunition to say his US Open victory was “a fluke”. This take is obvious nonsense. She beat everyone in front of her without dropping a set and played brilliant tennis while doing so. His peak level is clearly exceptional – people just have to be patient.
Serena versus Emma
Unsurprisingly, the two have never played before. Raducanu’s rise to the top of the game coincided with Williams’ injury leaving them no chance to face each other – until now. It seems rather fitting that Serena’s farewell tour sees her take on a future star of the game and the current US Open champion.
Like I said before, form shouldn’t come into this game. Serena showed incredible levels of tennis again in Toronto in her victory over Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, but Belinda Bencic in the next round was too solid for Williams. You can see in the clip below that she still has it, and there will be plenty more moments like this to savor in the weeks to come.
– wta (@WTA) August 8, 2022
The crowd will undoubtedly play a huge role here. As much as the American crowd loves Raducanu for his heroics last year, no one will ever have the crowd support over the legendary Serena Williams. How the Brit will handle this is uncertain. If she wants to win this match, she will have to be in an aggressive frame of mind; this is when she produced her best tennis.
When Raducanu is flat and hits too passively, she gets in trouble. Serena will serve big, hit hard and find the angles to outsmart the 19-year-old if she’s not the aggressor. If Raducanu takes the ball early and effectively directs her groundstrokes around the court, creating some of those nasty angles we saw last year, then she could be in a good position to be in the driver’s seat. Serena is a legend in the game and you still have to play a very high level of tennis to beat her no matter where she is right now.
The tennis and the occasion itself will be truly epic. Will Emma Raducanu overthrow the GOAT? Can Serena pull off a famous victory over the defending US Open champion? We will have to wait and see.