Anne Keothavong has responded to Emma Raducanu’s new working relationship with Harry Kane after it emerged that the Tottenham striker was acting as something of a “mentor” to the British No 1. It comes as Raducanu has been forced to miss the Billie Jean King Cup finals after ending her season early with a wrist injury.
Raducanu’s first full year as a tennis pro recently came to an end as the 19-year-old was forced to miss her last two tournaments through injury. The Bromley local made waves when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam at the 2021 US Open but has since seen mixed results as she adjusted to life on the tennis tour full-time.
Following the end of her freshman season, The Athletic reported that the world No 75 had been having “conversations” with Harry Kane as the England footballer had taken on something of a mentor role for the teenager, helping her deal with the scrutiny of being in the public eye while sharing ideas and advising her on her career. And another of Raducanu’s mentors – her BJK Cup captain – has now given her thoughts on their working relationship.
“Athletes at the very highest level, whatever sport you’re involved in, you’re dealing with similar stresses and expectations, and you all have a huge drive to achieve what you want to achieve and be the very best in your chosen profession,” Anne Keothavong told Sky Sports ahead of Britain’s first tie at this week’s BJK Cup Finals.
“So look, if she’s chatting to Harry Kane then good for her.” And the captain of Britain’s squad for the tournament seen as the ‘World Cup of women’s tennis’ also made a cheeky comment as she shared her hope that the man himself was also supporting the team this week.
She added: “Hopefully Harry Kane sends his best to the Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup team as well.” Raducanu was forced to pull out of this week’s Finals in Glasgow as she failed to recover from her wrist injury in time but Keothavong previously hinted at a potential appearance from the top-ranked British woman.
“It just depends on other things and she’s obviously trying to focus on getting fit and ready. If she’s not there supporting on the side, then she will be from afar,” Keothavong – a former British No 1 herself – said of Raducanu’s chances of coming to Glasgow to cheer on her team-mates.
Meanwhile, the five-woman squad is hoping to tap into the 19-year-old’s previous success at the US Open as they take on Kazakhstan in their first tie on Tuesday. Katie Boulter, who is the No 2 singles player on the team this week, said: “With a home crowd behind us, you never know what can happen. We love an underdog. Let’s hope we can bring a bit of Emma Raducanu magic to Billie Jean King Cup. We have no pressure, we have nothing to lose at all.”