McEnroe: Raducanu can 'play more free' as underdog vs Gauff

Emma Raducanu can ‘really let loose and play more free’ as the underdog against Coco Gauff, claims John McEnroe – as American legend insists the pressure won’t be on the British No 1 in Australian Open second-round clash

  • Coco Gauff is the strong favourite to beat Emma Raducanu, says John McEnroe
  • American Gauff, 18, faces Raducanu, 20, in the Australian Open second round
  • And tennis legend McEnroe insists the Brit can ‘play more free’ as the underdog
  • Raducanu has struggled for form since her shock US Open win in 2021 

Coco Gauff is the strong favourite to beat Emma Raducanu in their Australian Open second round clash, although that could help the British player.

That is the view of John McEnroe, who is hoping the match – taking place on Rod Laver Arena at 8am UK time on Wednesday – is a signpost towards what could be the kind of rivalry the women’s game needs.

He is looking forward to seeing what Raducanu can do in a rare situation where it might be possible for the older player to semi-relax.

Coco Gauff (above) is strong favourite to beat Emma Raducanu, according to John McEnroe

But the tennis legend thinks that will ease the pressure on British star Raducanu (pictured)

‘It’s a great second-round match-up and I think it’s going to be the first time in a while where Emma can really let loose and play more free,’ he told Eurosport.

‘It’s going to be interesting to see what happens there. I think Coco is in the better position right now to make a deep run and I think it’s going to be soon that she’s going to win a major event, in the next year or two at the most. To me she goes in as a heavy favourite.

‘She seems to be playing better and better and serving more consistently than she has done. I would say that it’s a match she should win, but a match that could put Raducanu back on the map again, which would be good for her.’

The American (left) claimed being the underdog would help Raducanu, 20, play more freely

The contest looks heavily tilted on rankings, with 78 playing number seven, and it will be Raducanu’s first time playing on the vast dimensions of the Laver stadium.

‘It will probably be the first time in a couple of years where Emma won’t be feeling the type of pressure she’s been feeling since she won the US Open,’ said McEnroe.

‘So that’s probably a good thing to allow her to be more free and do her thing, because to me she’s the type of player, the type of person and the type of talent that we could use in the top 10.’

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