Hampstead tennis star Dart denies tension being created after defeat to Raducanu

Harriet Dart in action at the UK Pro Series (Pic: Sports beat)

Harriet Dart in action at the UK Pro Series (Pic: Sports beat) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead’s Harriet Dart got ‘stuffed’ by Emma Raducanu but denied accusations of creating tension between the pair in their UK Pro Classic semi-final.

Harriet Dart in action at the UK Pro Series (Pic: Sports beat)

Harriet Dart in action at the UK Pro Series (Pic: Sports beat) - Credit: Archant

The British number three lost 6-0, 6-3 against the 17-year-old to scupper her hopes of lifting the maiden trophy as a wildcard, as a blistering start from Raducanu blew her away in Weybridge.

Dart was consistently vocal throughout the contest at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club, as close calls went against her and she was at one stage warned for her ‘noisy footwork’ when returning serve.

Raducanu claimed Dart created an ‘intense’ atmosphere and made regular derogatory comments - but the world No.147 refuted those claims.

“I got stuffed love and three, so I’m not sure how it could be tense,” the 24-year-old said.

“She played well, and it was easy to come out here and play loose and free when there’s no pressure on you.

“The umpire’s there to overrule when it’s needed, but it’s more that I got questioned about my footwork, which I’ve never had before, so that was quite unusual.

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“I was definitely in the right, so that was a bit annoying. He said that I was too noisy, which is strange because normally if an umpire picks you up on something like that they’d say it’s hindrance, but he didn’t say that once, so that was a bit bizarre.

“It definitely wasn’t my best day but credit to Emma, she came out firing and I think it was quite easy for her to come out, be loose, swing and have no pressure.”

Dart is one of 24 leading players at the ‘Premier League of tennis’ alongside Naomi Broady and Eden Silva in the women’s draw and James Ward and Liam Broady in the men’s.

The innovative format was devised by Andy Murray’s coach, Jamie Delgado, with players on Classic Week being split into two boxes of six ahead of finals weekend on August 15th and 16th.

Dart is the highest ranked player of either gender at the event in Weybridge, having embarked on a memorable run to the third round of Wimbledon last year while also reaching round two of this year’s Australian Open.

Raducanu is seven years younger than Dart and the Grand Slam star had a message to the teenager - let’s see what happens when the main tour resumes.

“I’m not going to dwell on this at all. It’s one match and one match doesn’t define you,” she added.

“Your ranking defines where you’re at really, so for me it’s about being able to play back to back matches and survive the week.

“It will be interesting once we get back to the main tour.”