Daniel Ricciardo (L) and Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu is set to kickstart her maiden WTA claycourt season in Stuttgart this week. The Brit is coming off her first professional win on the surface in the recently-concluded Billie Jean King Cup qualifying tie and will face Australia’s Storm Sanders on Wednesday.
The WTA 500 event is sponsored by luxury automobile company Porsche, of which Raducanu was announced as a brand ambassador last month. In an interview with Porsche ahead of the tournament, the reigning US Open champion expressed her fascination for motorsports.
She named the ‘911’ model as her favorite sportscar from the German brand, before pronouncing Daniel Ricciardo as her favorite Formula One driver.
“I’d like it to be in a 911 because it’s my favourite, or perhaps the super sporty 718 Cayman GT4,” Raducanu said. “As for the [F1] driver, Daniel Ricciardo would be my favourite as I think his skills and laid-back style are more fun and conducive to learning and improving fast.”
The 19-year-old went on to recall how her karting experience as a young girl kindled a passion for motorsports within her. Becoming a motocross enthusiast later on, Raducanu revealed that she didn’t mind getting smeared in mud on the dirt tracks.
“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,” the World No. 12 revealed. “I had so much fun once I started to get confident at it. Later, Motocross was a step up in the challenge from go karting. But also lots of fun. Let’s be honest, which kid doesn’t like getting dirty in the mud?”
When asked to describe her driving skills, Emma Raducanu explained that she typically drives with caution but doesn’t shy away from stepping on the accelerator when permitted.
“I would say I am a very safe and pretty decent driver who enjoys going fast when permitted,” Raducanu said. “When I’m back home, I drive 3 hours a day to train. On my travels I don’t get to drive very often as I’m still too young for car rentals.”
Emma Raducanu handed a tricky draw in Stuttgart
Emma Raducanu in action at the Billie Jean King Cup play-off
Emma Raducanu has landed herself in the top quarter of the draw in Stuttgart alongside World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. The Pole has won the last three WTA 1000 events in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. Before a potential meeting with Swiatek, however, the Brit will have to navigate past Storm Sanders and the German lucky loser Tamara Korpatsch.
Should she manage to come out unscathed from this quarter, Raducanu could meet either former champion Petra Kvitova or fourth seed Maria Sakkari in the semifinals. A final showdown against Spain’s Paula Badosa or defending finalist Aryna Sabalenka could also be on the cards for the 19-year-old.