Daniel Ricciardo is one of Formula One’s coolest customers and Emma Raducanu wants to channel the Australian's attitude and speed to UK Pro Classic success, writes Will Jennings.
F1 nut Raducanu, from Bromley, is one of the UK’s brightest tennis prospects and won her Friday match at the tournament in a 10-3 super tie-break over Sarah Beth Grey.
That leaves her well-placed in Pool B despite her earlier loss to British No.7 Jodie Burrage, with four wins from five matches heading into Finals Weekend.
Raducanu is a motorsport fanatic and hopes to hit the accelerator to make sure she’s the one popping bottles of Dom Pérignon on the podium come Sunday.
👊 RADUCANU BOUNCES BACK 👊@EmmaRaducanu lost her top of the table clash against @jodieburrage yesterday - but comes from behind against Sarah Beth Grey to win 10-3 in the buster! pic.twitter.com/L4RyJaLupG— ukprotennis (@ukprotennis) August 14, 2020
“I came into the game a little bit flat and carried over yesterday’s match a bit at the start, and credit to Beth as she made it very difficult for me,” the 17-year-old said.
“But I did well after such a long and tight first set and bounced back quite well. I played more cleanly and more consistently in the second set.
“When I have time I love to watch Formula One and I’ve started to follow it week-by-week – I watched the British Grand Prix and Daniel Ricciardo is my favourite driver!
“Off the track it seems like there’s so much banter with him, and he’s super laid back and chilled, and I think once he gets in the car he’s also super fiercely competitive.
“As tennis players, we can learn a lot from their reactions – you have to see everything so fast because the speeds that they’re going at are unbelievable. Those reactions and instincts can relate a lot to tennis.
“The intensity of the focus is also similar and transferrable, but tennis is a lot more luxurious - if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world but in F1 if you make a mistake, you’re in the wall.”
Raducanu is one of 24 leading players duelling it out in the widely-billed Premier League of tennis, playing alongside a glittering array of talent including Harriet Dart and Eden Silva in the women’s draw and Liam Broady and Anton Matusevich in the men’s.
The innovative format was devised by Andy Murray’s coach, Jamie Delgado, with players on Classic Week being split into two boxes of six ahead of finals weekend on August 15th and 16th.
Reallyyyy want this podium 😆 https://t.co/0vk7k4wT1u— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) August 13, 2020
Raducanu played in one of the earlier slots on Friday and had the rest of the day off to sit back and relax ahead of Finals Weekend.
How was she going to spend it? Watching F1 documentaries, of course.
“I love being on early as you know exactly when you’re on, but by the time I get home it might not be 4pm,” she added.
“There’s a documentary that I’m watching on Netflix called Drive to Survive, and I just recently got really into it.
"When I was younger I used to drive go-karts and do motocross, so I’ve just got a motor fix right now!”
12 of the UK’s top women and men have qualified through the UK Pro Series for the UK Pro Classic - www.ukproseries.com. The competition will be available for free on LIVENow, Eurosport Player and will have national free to air coverage via FreeSports