ASB Classic: British tennis star Emma Raducanu reveals high hopes for Auckland visit

British tennis phenom Emma Raducanu believes the ASB Classic will provide the ideal springboard to what she hopes will be a bounce-back season.

Last year's US Open champion touched down in Auckland after rounding out her pre-season training in Singapore.

The 20-year-old begins her 2023 at the iconic Kiwi tournament which, as is the case with the majority of competitors, she'll use as a warm-up for the Australian Open two weeks later.

"I'm looking forward to [starting the year in New Zealand]," said Raducanu on Saturday.

"It's such a beautiful place. I've heard so many great things about New Zealand. The people are really friendly.

"I've never spent much time over this side of the world. It's pretty far. The other day when I was leaving the hotel [my phone] said home was 12,000 miles away.

"But it's so nice over here."

Emma Raducanu reacts after winning the US Open last hyear.
Emma Raducanu reacts after winning the US Open last hyear. Photo credit: Getty Images

And going by what she's been told by her colleagues, Raducanu has high expectations for her time on and off the court in Aotearoa.

"I've heard the quality of the tournament, the way they treat the players, the hospitality and everything is right up there with one of the best tournaments on the calendar," she noted.

"I was obviously very excited when I heard I was coming here and I've definitely experienced it."

Raducanu captured the attention of the sporting world with her fairytale run to the US Open title as an 18-year-old, gaining entry via qualification and not dropping a set on her way to the final, where she beat fellow teen Leylah Fernandez - who's also competing at the ASB Classic - to end Great Britain's Grand Slam drought.

The accomplishment saw her star skyrocket to, becoming a household name and garnering a host of high-range endorsement deals.

But injuries have since put a dampener on that meteoric rise, hampering her throughout a frustrating 2022 and causing her world ranking to plummet from No.10 to No.77.

"Last year I experienced a few physical issues, a few niggles and this year I'm just going to do my best to take care of every single day as best I can and stay in good shape," she said.

With new coach Sebastian Sachs appointed earlier this month, Raducanu is confident she 'll be able to rescale that mountain.

"It's going really well," she said. "He's got really high standards, which is a good thing. I like that.

"But at the same time, he's smart about it… it's very much controlled and thought through."

Round one of the ASB Classic begins on Monday.

Join us from 2pm, Monday for live updates of day one of the ASB Classic