What Emma Raducanu and Serena Williams have said about each other before first ever match

Serena Williams and Emma Raducanu will go into their first ever clash in Cincinnati next week having spoken warmly about each other in the past. After a disappointing showing from the British teenager in the Canadian Open, where she was beaten in the first round by Italy’s Camila Giorgi, she’s been handed a dream draw for the Western and Southern Open.

The US Open champion will continue her build-up to her title defence in New York by playing the 23-time Grand Slam champion for the first time in her career. It’a a scenario she could have been forgiven for thinking would pass her by, after the American announced she was planning to retire from the sport following the tournament in Flushing Meadows.

The 40-year-old herself had a disappointing time in Toronto, reaching the second round before being beaten in straight sets by Belinda Bencic. After the loss, the icon broke down in tears as she bid an emotional farewell to the crowd.

The schedule for Cincinnati has not yet been confirmed, but the first-round match is expected to take place on either Monday or Tuesday. The winner of that clash will then face either 20th ranked Victoria Azarenka or 31st ranked Kaia Kanepi.

Following Raducanu’s astonishing win in New York last September, Serena and her older sister Venus told BBC 5 Live how the likes of her and Naomi Osaka were positive for the game: “I don’t know if we know their lives, but they’re achieving great things,” said Williams Jr. “We’re very happy for them and they’re great for tennis.”

And upon learning of the all-time great’s imminent retirement, Raducanu, 19, paid tribute to the legacy Williams will leave in the sport: “Her career is incredible,” she told reporters. “She’s achieved so much so to see her around during this US Open swing is really inspiring.

“She keeps playing because she obviously loves the game. The longevity of her career is something that a lot of the players, especially me, can aspire to. She definitely changed the game. There’s never been someone who’s dominated like her.”

The US Open gets underway on Monday, August 29. The event will now seemingly represent one last chance for Williams to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

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