Skip to content

US Open: Will Emma Raducanu surprise us again? Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie's hopes

Analyst Barry Cowan on Emma Raducanu's hopes of retaining the US Open women's title in New York; how coach Dmitry Tursunov and lighter tennis balls will help her chances of progress; Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie and whether Rafael Nadal can play himself into contention?

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu has the ability and talent to reproduce the "swagger" that helped her win the US Open with a fairy-tale run in New York last year, says Barry Cowan.

Raducanu is looking forward to trying to build and improve on her recent displays in Cincinnati, with the US Open beginning on Monday.

The 19-year-old hailed her run at the Western and Southern Open as a "great step" forward as she prepares to head to New York for the defence of her women's singles title.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Emma Raducanu says she feels she is playing 'completely free again' after victories against Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati

She produced some of her best tennis since last year's dazzling triumph to defeat Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka before losing to in-form American Jessica Pegula.

Despite sparking injury fears with her right wrist on the eve of the defence of her title there seems little doubt she can reproduce the kind of form which saw her come through qualifying to lift her maiden Grand Slam crown?

"I thought she was very good," TV analyst Cowan told Sky Sports looking back at her performances in Cincinnati. "The match she lost I thought was probably the one you'd get a better gauge of her level and it was very good, very high, and it was encouraging what Emma said after the match.

"I think she looked back to the game-style and the personality, swagger and the confidence that she had at the US Open last year. Of course it's going to be difficult emotionally as it is for any player if you look back at the history of our sport. Anyone that wins a first major and they've got to come back and defend that title - it's tough.

Also See:

"Let's not expect too much from Raducanu but she surprised us last year. We know how great she is mentally. I just thought there were encouraging signs from her game. I think that's something she can build on. But just enjoy it.

"I think her ranking is about Top 50 and that's where it's looking like it's going to be after the US Open. As and when the points drop off, I think, I hope and I expect we'll just see Emma play with a little bit more freedom and develop her game. The experience of the last two or three years will benefit her."

What kind of impact has coach Dmitry Tursunov had on Raducanu's recent good form?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Cowan has praised coach Dmitry Tursunov for Emma Raducanu's recent upward trajectory ahead of her US Open title defence

"I knew Dmitry as a person. I knew him as a player. He was an absolute free-spirit and he's obviously had a good track record with some of the players he's worked with, including Aryna Sabalenka and Anett Kontaveit," explained Cowan.

"If his role is also there to make Emma Raducanu feel relaxed then that's half the battle and if you're a happy player off the court then you're more likely to be a happy player on the court.

"Right now it seems a pretty good fit and obviously further down the road we'll see how long that relationship lasts. But right now it seems like a pretty positive impact that he's had because Raducanu looks a lot happier on the court."

Will the lighter balls help Raducanu?

New York is a great fit for her and it's a great fit for her personality. I think she will do well and I think she has a chance of reaching the second week.
Barry Cowan on Emma Raducanu's chances in New York

"The balls definitely help her and the reason why they help her is because they're quicker. One of the reasons for me that Raducanu was able to disrupt a lot of her opponents last year was because she took the attack to them by holding her position on the baseline," said Cowan.

"She relies more on using pace than creating her own pace. Let's be honest. She is not a Serena Williams or Sabalenka type of player by being able to generate huge shots but Ash Barty did pretty well.

"I think the quicker the courts, the quicker the balls, and if you're confident you can just hold your position on the baseline and use their pace and I think that's an advantage.

"New York is a great fit for her and it's a great fit for her personality. I think she will do well and I think she has a chance of reaching the second week."

Raducanu will look forward to a first-round clash with France's Alize Cornet on Tuesday (from midnight), while she could face four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka in the third round. Sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka is the projected fourth-round opponent.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Raducanu says it was amazing to share the court with Serena Williams

Is this really Serena's swansong?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Rafael Nadal gives his thoughts on Serena, with the 40-year-old expected to retire after the US Open

Montenegro's Danka Kovinic could play the part of potential party pooper at Williams' US Open retirement bash.

The match on Arthur Ashe will be packed with most of the nearly 25,000 cheering for the tennis icon standing across from her.

"It will be a sad moment if it is because of what she has contributed and how great she is," admitted Cowan. "I have never seen anyone in the women's game serve better. She was one of those players that transcended the women's game but unfortunately everything is catching up on her so she now doesn't hit the ball as hard as the other women and physically she's nowhere near in the same shape.

"I think also she has lost the aura, that locker room power of maybe half of the women being intimidated before they walk out onto the court. Having seen her play in recent weeks Serena has just been way off."

Kovinic, ranked 80th, could go from obscurity to arguably the sport's most famous player on Monday night.

Along with Venus, it's such a powerful story of their father believing in their journey and sacrificing absolutely everything. Sometimes you can maybe get lucky for one, you can't get lucky for two. Richard (Williams) always said Serena was going to be the greatest and I think it's pretty hard to disagree.
Barry Cowan on Serena Williams

Andy Murray's level is good, but can he go deep in New York?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Murray hints that he may just stop playing tennis rather than announce a date for his retirement from the sport

World No 49 Murray, who won his maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows a decade ago, has struggled with cramp in recent matches so what can we expect from the 35-year-old in New York?

"I think the situation is the same now as it has been for a while which is that I see his level as pretty good, but the harsh realities are physically he's not in the same shape because he's not able to put in the same work as he did 10 years ago," Cowan said.

"Now he is suffering from cramps so now you've got the situation where Murray is thinking he's not as fit as his opponent. Murray's opponents were thinking 10 years ago 'I might not be able to win this physical battle' but now they're thinking 'I can win this physical battle' in a sport that can be so mental in terms of your belief or lack of belief.

"I thought Wimbledon was his best shot but he just got an unfortunate draw by playing John Isner in the second round.

"Can he win matches here? Yes, he can. Can he go deep? No, I don't think he can. Murray is not the type of player who can cruise through matches. He has to dig deep for his points, his games and his sets. If Murray was to get through to the second week, I think that would be an absolutely fantastic effort."

Murray meets 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo from Argentina in the first round.

Follow the US Open on Sky Sports

  • We will bring you game-by-game coverage of all the biggest names, including Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie, Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios and Serena Williams through our dedicated live blog.
  • We will also bring you live scores, results and updated men's and women's schedules.
  • Stay updated with the latest news, reports and reaction from Flushing Meadows through our website & App.

What about Cam Norrie's chances?

Britain's Cameron Norrie celebrates defeating Tommy Paul of the US in a men's fourth round singles match on day seven of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Sunday, July 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Image: Cameron Norrie will hope to match his run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in New York

Despite gaining no points for his run to the Wimbledon semi-finals - the first time he had made it past the third round at a Grand Slam - Norrie stands at a career-high nine in the world and is seeded in the top eight at a major for the first time.

"He's amongst the elite players," feels Cowan. "He continues to improve having won one of the best three-set matches of the year against Carlos Alcaraz. It was absolutely phenomenal and for Norrie to beat him shows just what he can do.

"I believe the conditions in New York suit Norrie's game-style more than Wimbledon on the grass, but I don't think he will win it."

Norrie will face unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire first up.

So who will win the men's US Open title?

Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, kisses the championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, in the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in New York. The U.S. Open tennis tournament will allow players from Russia and Belarus to compete this year despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine that prompted a ban at Wimbledon.(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Image: Daniil Medvedev will be aiming to retain his men's title at Flushing Meadows

"You have the very top guys, if they get to the last four, they have another level to go to. The players who do have a gear change are Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, but I also think all four have big question marks," admitted Cowan.

"The safe bet for me would probably be Medvedev because he's had the matches.

"Rafa is clearly a doubt before the tournament has started because he's only played one match after Wimbledon, but if he was to get through the first week then you have to be pretty foolish not to say he's favourite.

"If you're weighing everything up about preparation and the form that I've seen over the last three weeks I think Medvedev's form has improved and I would edge toward him. If you ask me the same question at the start of the second week, then it might be Nadal that comes into that equation."

Barry Cowan was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza. Don't forget to follow us on, our Twitter account @skysportstennis & Sky Sports - on the go! Available to download now on - iPhone & iPad and Android

Around Sky