Jürgen Klopp has described Emma Raducanu as “the talent of the century” and admitted he was overwhelmed by the 18-year-old’s sporting reaction to winning the US Open.
The Liverpool manager is a keen tennis player and interrupted his preparations for Sunday’s 3-0 win at Leeds to watch the teenager make history on Saturday as the first qualifier to win a grand slam title. While impressed by the performance, Klopp said he was most inspired by the response of Raducanu and the defeated Leylah Fernandez to the result and believes their humility is an example to all elite sportspeople.
“It is long ago that I watched a full tennis game and I was impressed by the power, the speed and the whole game,” said Klopp. “Women’s tennis is obviously in a brilliant moment. These two girls, 18 and 19, what they showed in the game was massively impressive. But then when they got the trophies during the ceremony, how both girls spoke was really inspiring to be honest. Even more so than the tennis, which was inspiring enough.
“I was absolutely overwhelmed by the way they presented themselves. Fernandez was obviously disappointed and Emma showed great respect for her. They knew they will face each other in the future very often and be in many more finals. I wish that for them. It was a great show of sportsmanship and elite sport and how humble you can be while so young and on top of the world.”
Klopp added: “When you are 18-year-old and win the US Open it can only come from hard work. She is for sure the talent of the century, but without hard work it is not possible to be there and doing that. Now she is there and you see her smiling during the game, it is the nicest thing I can imagine. I will watch women’s tennis much more, for sure, than I did in the last few years.”
Raducanu attended the Met Gala in New York on Monday night and on Tuesday spoke to Boris Johnson. A No 10 spokesman said the prime minister congratulated her for her “fantastic victory”, “praised her determination, skill and mental strength during a series of tough matches, and said the whole of the UK had united behind her success.
“Both the prime minister and Emma agreed on the importance of continuing to support grassroots tennis, and in encouraging young people to take up the game.”