How Andy Murray inspired Emma Raducanu to Australian Open debut win

Emma Raducanu took inspiration from Andy Murray's fighting spirit to break new ground at the Australian Open.

Emma Raducanu defeated Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open first round. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Emma Raducanu defeated Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open first round. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 19-year-old made it 11 wins from 12 main draw matches at grand slam level by defeating fellow US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-0 2-6 6-1 in the first round in Melbourne.

Amazingly, it was the first time Raducanu had played a deciding set at a grand slam having won three matches at Wimbledon and seven in New York - as well as three in qualifying - all in straight sets.

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The teenager's late-night success made it four British players through on Tuesday, among them Murray, who survived a typically-gruelling battle with Nikoloz Basilashvili in five sets.

Raducanu said: "When I was in the third set I actually thought, 'Andy was up a set then he got pushed to five but he fought back so hard and took the decider', so, when I went to three, I was also thinking, 'Actually, I can fight back and win, fight like he did'. I was definitely inspired by him."

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It was Murray's first win at Melbourne Park for five years and his first appearance since he watched a tribute video from his fellow players in 2019 sending him into retirement after he opened up about the extent of his hip problems.

He still managed to push Roberto Bautista Agut to five sets prior to his resurfacing surgery, and among those watching on TV back home was Raducanu.

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"I've watched so many of Andy's matches, all his finals here in Australia, but his match against Agut was some of the best fighting I've ever seen," she said. "It's great to have a role model like him leading British tennis."

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