Emma Raducanu has pulled out of next week’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic event,
which was set to be her first appearance since her monumental US Open triumph.
The 18-year-old British No 1 completed her flawless Flushing Meadows victory by
beating Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final on September 11 and was set to make
her return to the court after frenzied media attention on September 27.
Raducanu has returned to the UK to her hometown of Bromley last week and was
seen at a London Fashion Week event on Monday night.
But the teenager is now not expected to return to the court until the first week of
October after pulling out of the Chicago tournament, which is running as a WTA
event for the first time this year.
The prize money for winning the hard court event stands at $565,530 (£413,767),
which is around a fifth of the $2.5m pot she got for becoming the first qualifier to
ever win a Grand Slam in New York.
Other high-profile tennis stars to pull out of the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic event
include American teenage star Coco Gauff, last year’s Australian Open champion
Sofia Kenin and US Open semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka.
The current top seed attending the event is Olympics bronze medallist and World No
4 Elina Svitolina, while former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is the
second seed. Eleven out of the world’s top 20 are still set to compete in Chicago.
Raducanu’s US Open triumph lifted her to World No 22 after being ranked at 338 at
the start of the Wimbledon Championships in June.
She reached the second week of the south west London Grand Slam before retiring to
Ajla Tomljanovic after experiencing breathing difficulties and only broke in to the top
150 in the world after picking up WTA points in the run up to the US Open.
In winning the US Open, Raducanu became the first British woman to win a major
title for 44 years since Virginia Wade lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 1977.
The British No 1 is now expected to make her return to the court at the BNP Paribas
Open in Indian Wells on October 4, which is one of the biggest non-Grand Slam
events in world tennis.
Since winning at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu has been raising her non-sporting
profile by attending high-profile events such as the Met Gala in New York and
London Fashion Week.
She attended the Met Gala last Monday in a monochrome Chanel ensemble, before
appearing at an intimate dinner and party hosted by British Vogue and Tiffany & Co.
to celebrate Fashion and Film at The Londoner Hotel a week later.
Work is also being done behind the scenes to try and make Raducanu a ‘$1billion
brand’, with the chairman of InterTalent predicting her off-court earnings will swiftly
surpass those of Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and US legend Serena Williams –
the world’s two highest paid female athletes last year.
She is already managed by Max Eisenbud, vice-president of tennis at entertainment
giant IMG and one of the most powerful agents in sport. And Emma’s multi-cultural
background, being half-Chinese and fluent in Mandarin, is seen as a big part of her
landing some huge deals.
Jonathan Shalit, who landed lucrative deals for Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and
singer and TV host Myleene Klass, says Emma could become the first billion dollar
female sports star.
Mr Shalit said: ‘In the space of a week, Emma has become a global phenomenon.
‘I already have her down to become the first US$100 million British female sports
star. And if she continues on her current trajectory, she will be worth US$1 billion
and be the biggest female sports star in the world.’