Emma Raducanu eclipses Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal French Open viewing figures

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Emma Raducanu is still proving popular eight months on from her historic US Open triumph as she makes her debut at the French Open. According to Eurosport, the UK’s broadcaster of the clay-court Major, the world No 12 has pulled in four times more viewers than every other player, including the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Raducanu needed two hours and 37 minutes to outlast Czech teenager Linda Noskova in her first-ever match at the French Open on Monday, coming from a set down for a 6-7(4) 7-5 6-1 win over the qualifier. And it seems the 19-year-old is as popular as she was when she was a qualifier herself when she won the US Open, as the match saw four times the amount of viewers compared to any other shown in the first three days of the tournament.

“Raducanu still resonating with British audiences,” Frew McMillan said while commentating on her second round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. “Our audiences on her first round match on Eurosport, four times bigger than for any other match that we’ve had in the first few days of Roland Garros ‘22. The public still love her and are intrigued by her, and why not?”

It means the Bromley local will have eclipsed the viewing figures the likes of Djokovic and Nadal got in their opening matches against Yoshihito Nishioka and Jordan Thompson respectively. And there was plenty of interest in the two legends’ matches, with the world No 1 playing his first Grand Slam match of the year after being deported ahead of January’s Australian Open.

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Meanwhile, Nadal was playing his first match after suffering an injury scare at the recent Italian Open, with some doubting whether he could recover in time for his most successful tournament, as the Spaniard ended up dropping just six games in a 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory. 

Raducanu had already proven popular with British audiences when she won the US Open, as Channel 4 struck a deal with the tournament’s exclusive broadcaster Amazon Prime to simulcast her historic final on free-to-air TV. A peak of 9.2 million viewers tuned in to Channel 4’s last-minute broadcast of her unprecedented title win in Flushing Meadows back in September, with millions more watching via Prime Video.

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And the British No 1 is only set to gain more fans when she returns to Wimbledon next month, a year after making her Grand Slam debut as a wildcard ranked down at No 338 in the world, where she stormed into the second week. The 19-year-old has already confirmed that she will be at the All England Club this summer despite the ATP and WTA Tours’ decision to strip the tournament of its ranking points in response to Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players.

“When we are out on the court, it’s still the same, you still want to win and nothing is going to change in that sense. For me, I personally will play Wimbledon whatever,” she said. “I have a got a lot of points coming off but for me it doesn’t really matter whatever the situation is, I am here to play and I will play whatever the situation is.”

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