Emma Raducanu was asked to comment on Novak Djokovic’s visa debacle
Emma Raducanu is gearing up for her main-draw debut at the Australian Open next week. The teenager, seeded 17th, is slated to face Sloane Stephens in the first round on Tuesday.
During her pre-tournament press conference, Raducanu was asked to share her thoughts on Novak Djokovic’s tumultuous visa battle that has dominated the headlines in the past week or so.
The Serb, who came to Melbourne with a medical exemption, had his visa revoked by the Border Police before it was reinstated by the Federal Circuit Court. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, however, exercised his “personal power” to cancel Djokovic’s visa once again and the 34-year-old has once again approached the court to challenge Hawke’s decision.
Emma Raducanu believes the developments surrounding Djokovic have shifted the focus away from the Australian summer of tennis. She pointed out how her fellow Brit Andy Murray had reached his first final since 2019 in Sydney and that was going to focus on supporting him.
“I feel like the situation, I feel it has taken away a little bit from the great tennis that’s been happening over this summer in Australia,” Raducanu said. “For example, Andy Murray, he’s in the final tonight [in Sydney], which I think is pretty incredible. To see him come back and win and play so well, definitely rooting for him later on.”
Murray had not yet played in the Sydney final at the time of Raducanu’s press conference. He would go on to lose to Aslan Karatsev in straight sets.
Raducanu was diagnosed with COVID-19 towards the end of last year, which forced her to delay the start of her 2022 season. She launched her season at the Sydney Tennis Classic, where she won just one game against Elena Rybakina in the first round.
Nevertheless, Raducanu revealed that she has been improving her game on the practice courts and is getting close to her best.
“It’s a challenge to try and find the balance of wanting to get out there and practice straight after coming out of isolation,” the World No. 18 said. “I’m just trying to find that balance. The first week I wasn’t able to practice so much.””But after Sydney, it was good to see where I was at that point in time. Afterwards I went out to sharpen up a few things on the practice court. All I want to see is that I’m getting slightly better and I have a better feeling. I think that gradually I’m getting there,” she added.
“It’s going to be a very cool experience to play here in the main draw for the first time” – Emma Raducanu on Australian Open debut
The US Open champion at a practice session at Melbourne Park
The 2021 US Open champion proceeded to talk about how she feels ahead of her maiden main-draw appearance at the Australian Open. She recalled competing at the Melbourne Major as a junior and felt proud at how quickly she transitioned to the professional circuit.
She asserted that she was going to “enjoy” her time on court and would not be putting pressure on herself in the upcoming fortnight.
“I think it’s going to be a very cool experience to play here in the main draw for the first time,” the Brit continued. “I played a few years ago in the juniors. Coming back here playing in the main draw so soon, I feel quite proud of this achievement. It is a bit of a different feel because back then we weren’t allowed in the main area. It’s quite fun to see and look around.””Yeah, looking forward to getting out there. I feel like there’s no pressure on me. I feel like I’m just happy to be here and have a swing. I had to jump a few hurdles to play here, so I just want to go out there and enjoy on the court,” she added.