"In my day Emma Raducanu would have never won a slam" says Flavia Pennetta
Flavia Pennetta is one of the best Italian tennis players of all time and the US Open champion believes that Raducanu would have had a much tougher go at a slam in her day.
Pennetta achieved the crowning moment of her career in 2015 when she defeated fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in the 2015 US Open final. The Italian has also had a very storied career outside of that major which is why she is on the International Hall of Fame Ballot for the 2021 class. In a recent interview after her Hall of Fame nomination, Pennetta was asked about the current trend in WTA tennis and she said:
"I don't like it. What is happening, this very strong discontinuity, in my opinion, is not good for tennis. In my time it could never have happened that a young girl played from qualifying, like Emma Raducanu in New York, to win a Grand Slam. Top athletes made too much difference. There is something wrong. Charisma is missing, so women's tennis is more difficult to sell."
It's a very broad criticism of the current WTA where there is a lot of parity. Each event can be won by any player and there is no set in stone favourites that play finals regularly. The most recent WTA 1000 was won by Badosa, a player ranked outside the top 10. Before that we had Teichmann, a player ranked outside of the top 40 at that moment, play in the final of Cincinnati.
Some tennis fans enjoy the parity as it brings excitement in the tennis community which has lacked especially on the ATP side where a handful of players have dominated for more than a decade. Either way, Pennetta can't really influence the change in the WTA and the popularity of sport seems to be fine considering that the WTA final in Indian Wells pulled more viewers than the ATP one.