Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon: There will be ‘high expectations’ but ‘let’s give it time’

Emma Raducanu first came into the spotlight at Wimbledon last year and hasn’t left it since.
Event: All England Club Dates: June 27-July 10
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Emma Raducanu’s first Wimbledon since her US Open win is unlikely to be the place to temper expectations.

She is the British number one, a Grand Slam champion and an obvious candidate for Center Court billing.

The fact that he has struggled with injuries and hasn’t settled on a coach will do nothing to lower the excitement levels, because that’s not how it works at your local Grand Slam.

“It’s all about you as a British player at Wimbledon. How many newspapers, online sites, how many journalists are there,” former British number one Greg Rusedski told BBC Sport.

“We focus a lot on the British, especially if there is someone who we think can win the title or has a chance to win the title.

“With Emma and what she has achieved, there is a lot of anticipation.”

So how will you handle it? Are we all, fans, media and your opponents, expecting too much?

what a difference a year makes

A year ago, a No. 10 British teenager made her Wimbledon main draw debut with a minimum of fuss on Court 18.

The wild card’s comeback from 4-1 down to take the first set followed by a 6-0 second set was noted, but back then the media and public had bigger names to watch for overthinking.

At the end of the second round, the 18-year-old was the only British woman left in the singles draw; at the end of the third, the only British final point.

And so the spotlight was firmly on Emma Raducanu and the story of ‘A-Level Student to Tennis Star’ captured the imagination and the headlines as she reached the fourth round.

Her career ended when she withdrew from her round of 16 match against Ajla Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties, later saying that “all the experience” of the whirlwind week had “caught up” with her.

Just two months later came that unlikely and magical US Open triumph, and with it the answer to how he handles the pressure of the big occasion.

But that was an event without expectations. She was a qualifier back then, but now she’s a top 10 seed.

Rusedski asked everyone who watched her at Wimbledon for patience: “Let’s give her time. This time will be the hardest.”

How is your physical condition?

Emma Raducanu receiving treatment
Emma Raducanu’s most recent tournament was in Nottingham, where she retired with a lateral strain.

Since her US Open triumph, Raducanu has had three mid-match retirements due to a series of issues that have hampered her during what is her first full year on the WTA tour.

He struggled with a blister on his racket hand in his Australian Open second-round loss in January, retired with a leg injury in a first-round match in Mexico in February, was bathing his blistered feet with surgical spirit in a Billie Jean King Cup. she tied in April and she had a back problem in Madrid in May.

She also had Covid at the end of last year, while her preparation at Wimbledon has not been ideal after a lateral strain forced her to withdraw just seven games after her Nottingham opener. She then withdrew from Birmingham due to the problem and did not play at Eastbourne.

He previously said that his physical problems were frustrating and that he was doing his best to overcome them.

It’s entirely possible that if his profile hadn’t skyrocketed due to the success of the US Open, his body’s natural process of becoming more robust to cope with the rigors of life on tour wouldn’t have attracted as much attention.

The mother of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, Judy, noted earlier this month that her son had “a number of recurring physical issues” moving from the juniors to the main tour.

In an article in The Daily Telegraph, he wrote: “In particular, he suffered from a lot of cramps. His body was perfectly prepared for the demands of the lower rungs of the circuit, but not necessarily for the harder, longer, harder hits.” rigorous rallies and stronger opponents than he faced on the Tour.

“What is becoming increasingly clear is that Raducanu’s body needs time to mature.”

Is your ranking a true reflection of your form?

If you take away the 2000 ranking points he earned at the US Open, his ranking would be 60-something in the world instead of 11.

She clearly won those points, and brilliantly, but she’s been elevated to a position that could be considered higher than the rest of her results would suggest her “natural” ranking is.

He hasn’t won three straight since his triumph in New York and both of his Grand Slam tournaments since then – the Australian Open and the French Open – have finished in the second round.

With the ranking, comes not only the expectation of the public but also of the other players.

“It’s different when you’re someone who can have a target on your back,” said Raducanu, who was ranked 338th at Wimbledon last year, earlier this year.

“Everyone ups their game, they want to play well, they want to beat you, take you out. That’s something I definitely learned on tour this year and embraced it.”

Do off-court activities take up too much time?

Raducanu’s agent, Max Eisenbud, doesn’t think the business demands are weighing her down. He told the BBC’s Sports Desk podcast that IMG had “he left millions of dollars off the table” limiting it to a maximum of 18 days of sponsorship per year.

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open as a 19-year-old, can relate to Raducanu and the whirlwind she’s still in when she’s graced magazine covers, invited to glitzy events and fills her page with Instagram with ads. for the nine major brands with which she has endorsement deals.

With a Grand Slam title comes off-court opportunities: some lucrative, some glamorous, all time-consuming.

“The good thing is that everyone knows you at home and everyone looks at you like an idol,” Ostapenko, 25, told BBC Sport.

“But the hard part was getting used to all this pressure, things change around you, everyone wants interviews, photo shoots, all these things, but you still need to practice at the same time.”

“So it was very difficult to get used to and also everyone expected you to win every tournament.

“I needed some time to get used to it. I think I wasn’t ready to win a Grand Slam at that young age because it’s every tennis player’s dream and when you do it at 19 maybe you lose a little too.” a little motivation.”

Tracy Austin, who won the US Open as a 16-year-old in 1979, said she felt all the new demands were “pulling” her.

“My world turned upside down because two days later I was on all the morning shows in the United States, they were throwing contracts at me,” said the American. he told the Sports Table.

“I was still a teenager and everyone was trying to consume every part of my day, and I just wanted to be a kid and I just wanted to play tennis.”

Raducanu said last year that he would never cancel a workout or practice session for off-court commitments, but he may still be asked if his time is being squeezed too much.

emma raducanu
Emma Raducanu joined celebrities at the Met Gala days after her US Open triumph

Does it matter that I don’t have a coach?

Raducanu has not been able to decide on a coach for the last year.

Nigel Sears was replaced by Andrew Richardson after last year’s Wimbledon, but Richardson’s contract was not renewed despite Raducanu’s success in New York.

Torben Beltz was appointed in November but they parted ways in April. The LTA’s head of women’s coaches, Iain Bates, has been working with Raducanu ever since.

Austin, a two-time US Open champion, suggested it might be good for Raducanu to stick with one for a bit longer as she tries to navigate the sudden rise in her profile and ranking.

“There’s so much you have to deal with,” he said.

“You need a really good team around you that includes your family making sound decisions. Is this really important? Is it going to help me? Is this going to derail my career?

“I think it would be beneficial for Emma to find someone she feels very comfortable with and stay with them for a while so you can make a list. What do we need to work on? Where are the gaps? Where are they? What are my points?” strong? I need to improve both of them and get that comfort level personally.”

Will he one day win another Grand Slam?

Of course, no one can know the answer to that.

Serena Williams’ former manager Patrick Mouratoglou is among those who predict she can win many more major trophies, but former British number one John Lloyd may have put it best during his BBC commentary at Queen’s last week:

“I don’t think it’s a one-slam wonder, and if it is, so what? That’s pretty special, too.”

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