Virginia Wade: 'She should be set up there with the top girls for a long time.'
Emma Raducanu is "without question" the "new star of British tennis," former pro Virginia Wade has told ITV News.
Wade, the most recent British woman to have won a Major singles title, said she was "sure" the 18-year-old would go all the way to the top adding: "She should be set up there with the top girls for a long time."
"Without question I think Emma is the new star of British tennis. There's no question she's just got special qualities, she's good in all departments," Wade said.
"She's still young, you don't know how it's going to evolve, but without anything going wrong, she should be set up there with the top girls for a long time.
The teenager from Kent is through to the quarter finals of the US Open after a storming run at the competition so far.
Wade was there to watch the young star triumph over home favourite Shelby Rogers earlier in the week, with Raducanu addressing the former tennis pro in her post-match interview.
"Thank you so much for watching my match. I really appreciate it," she said.
"You’re an absolute legend so I’m really honoured to have had you here. I’m just going to try to do my best each round and let’s see how far it goes."
Wade told ITV News the teenager was "right on cue and always says nice things, she's very on top of it."
Raducanu shot to fame by reaching Wimbledon’s fourth round in July, in a stunning first grand slam showing.
Her brilliant Wimbledon run was cut short after the teenager was forced to withdraw in the fourth round after suffering breathing difficulties.
Quizzed on whether the teenager can go all the way and win the US Open Wade said she was "sure" she would.
"If not this year, it really doesn't matter. This year doesn't matter. She will, I'm sure.
"There's so many good players around these days, there's no guarantee that if you're winning now you're going to be winning tomorrow.
"It's not the end of the world if she doesn't win this year, but why not? If she can - why not."
The former champion admitted Raducanu faces a "tough match" against Belinda Bencic but added: "She can go in with nothing to lose and Belinda will feel she's got plenty at stake."
Wade, who is the only British woman in history to have won titles at all four Majors, said the 18-year-old is "perfectly mature" and even said she saw some of herself in the teenager.
On their similarities, Wade said Raducanu shows the same "ebullience" she showed when she was young.
"I certainly remember playing Wimbledon at 16 and thinking 'ah I'm going to win this, I'm going to win that'. You go in with quite a lively attitude and you never get tired."