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Andy Murray hails ‘well grounded’ Emma Raducanu as he sends BBC SPOTY winner warning

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EMMA RADUCANU has been warned of “extremely high” pressures following her BBC Sports Personality of the Year win. Andy Murray, who was crowned SPOTY three times, shared his concerns for the 19-year-old.

Andy Murray has admitted that Emma Raducanu will have to face “extremely high” expectations when she returns to Wimbledon as a Grand Slam champion this summer. Last year, the Bromley local made her Grand Slam debut at the All England Club as a wild card ranked world No 338. Having won the US Open as a qualifier just weeks later, she is now a household name and the world No 19.

Raducanu announced herself at Wimbledon earlier this year, having her wild card upgraded from the qualifying to the main draw last minute, making her Grand Slam debut while just 18 and ranked down at world No 338.

She stormed into the second week without dropping a set, making her the youngest British woman in the Open Era to make the last 16, and left the tournament at a new career-high of world No 179.

Just weeks later, she went to New York to enter the US Open qualifying event and ended up winning ten matches in a row through qualies and the main draw without dropping a set, ending her three weeks as a Grand Slam champion.

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Raducanu’s unprecedented achievement saw her become the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam, and the first woman to lift the title on just her second appearance at Major level.

Her ranking sky-rocketed from the career-high of world No 150 she had earned ahead of the US Open into the top 25, and she now sits at a year-end ranking of world No 19.

The 19-year-old became an instant superstar following her US Open win, and on Sunday was crowned the first female winner of BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 15 years for her heroics.

It’s the fourth time in nine years a tennis player has won the prestigious title, as Andy Murray was crowned SPOTY in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The three-time Grand Slam champion had tipped Raducanu to win the award while in Abu Dhabi for the recent Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition, and has since warned her about the high pressures that will be placed on her during the British grass-court season

“I’ve spoken a little bit about Emma since the US Open and I do really want to be careful to seem to be giving her advice or my opinions on her and her career, what she should and shouldn’t be doing and how she should deal with certain things,” the current world No 134 told Eurosport.

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“But yeah, there will be certain stages in her career, certainly around Wimbledon and the grass-court season where the expectations are extremely high. And there’ll be a lot of pressure there.”

Murray himself garnered media attention when he played his first Wimbledon main draw in 2005, getting to the third round as a wildcard ranked at world No 312 before losing from two sets up with cramping and fatigue – a similar story to Raducanu’s after her All England Club run ended with a retirement in the fourth-round as she suffered with breathing difficulties.

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The former world No 1 admitted that Raducanu’s sudden media attention was on a “much greater scale” after she achieved something previously impossible in the sport, but felt positive about her ability to handle the pressure, calling her “well-grounded”.

He continued: “I know that that’s obviously something that’s difficult to deal with. I’m sure she’ll be able to deal with it, but it’s not easy.

“She’s unbelievably well-grounded. She’s very, very smart. I’m sure she’ll be absolutely fine, but it’s not easy.

“I certainly didn’t have it to the degree that she’s had it but when I played Wimbledon the first time I went from nobody knowing me or watching my matches to being on the front page of the newspapers and being followed around for a period of time and it’s like overnight, it’s kind of life-changing.

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“And that’s the same thing, obviously that’s happened to her but on a much grander scale. So I know that that must be very difficult for her. It’s just important that you have your family and your team and everyone around you and that they’re the ones that you listen, and to try your hardest to block the rest.”