British tennis player Sonay Kartal, 20, was once a big rival of Emma Raducanu as she admitted the 19-year-old's success has inspired her to work hard and pursue her dreams. Raducanu, 19, made tennis history when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam.
Raducanu won 10 matches - all in straight sets - en route to winning the US Open. Kartal barely picked up a racket between the ages of 14 to 17 due to a wrist problem and then was also hampered by two abdominal tears. “We grew up playing each other,” Kartal tells the PA news agency.
“I think my earliest memory is maybe under-nines up until under-14s. We’d be in the same national tournaments and we’d always end up meeting each other in the finals and we’d alternate almost every week who won."
Kartal hoping to meet Raducanu again on the big stage
Since returning to action in October, Kartal has won 26 of her 28 matches as she is currently enjoying a career-high ranking of No.
392 in the world. Kartal is hoping to continue her rise and in the future meet Raducanu again - but this on pro level and the big stage. “It has inspired me and I think I can speak for the others who grew up playing around her that it’s nothing but inspiration, a little kick that what we’re all trying to achieve, it’s doable, it’s not a dream that’s so unachievable.
It was motivation for all of us," Kartal said. Also, Kartal spoke about the importance of having events in Great Britain. “Tournaments at home, especially right now with Covid still going on, it makes our lives so much easier,” said Kartal.
“And also financially, it helps a huge amount. It’s an expensive sport anyway, let alone when you add in the travel”.