Emma Raducanu has stayed classy and refused to get into a war of words with Sloane Stephens. The American offered lukewarm praise after losing to her fellow US Open champion in the first round of the Australian Open and warned: “She has a lot to learn”.
But after her defeat in the second round, the British No.1 said: “I didn’t see her interview. From all the interactions I’ve had with Sloane I thought she was really nice to me. I hit with her before San Jose last year and she was very nice to me. I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about Sloane.”
Raducanu has won only three matches in five tournaments since her shock New York triumph in September.
Following the Bromley teenager’s three-set win, world No.68 Stephens said: “She played me, someone she’s like ranking-wise supposed to beat and, I mean, yeah, she won.
“Our situations are very different. I think she is carrying a whole country and that’s quite different from my win at the US Open.
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“I had the option to withdraw before the match but after everything, the covid, making it out here, fighting back from the loss last week I wanted to give it all I had.
“I’m on the other side of the world! And I know my hand is going to recover in two days.
“It’s not long term. I can build on this pretty quickly and start working on my game again.”