Emma Raducanu has struggled for consistency with a mixture of poor results and injuries hampering her progress since her unlikely US Open success last September
Emma Raducanu has been warned that she faces a “very tough” time this summer with ‘Emma-mania’ set to take over at Wimbledon.
The teen tennis star shot to international stardom with her US Open victory last September which propelled her up the rankings and saw her rake in the cash with prize money and a host of sponsorship opportunities. However, things haven’t gone so swimmingly since.
Injuries have prevented Raducanu from building any momentum and her form has suffered for it. It certainly doesn’t help that all her learning on the WTA Tour is being done in full view of the tennis world, as a Grand Slam champion whose professional experience remains fairly negligible.
In spite of as yet being genuinely new to everything, she will be perhaps the greatest fascination later this season when she shakes up at Wimbledon. Raducanu previously entered the public eye with a rush to the fourth round last year, yet this time everybody knows what her identity is and there will unquestionably be a buzz around the 19-year-old.
“It’s going to be in some ways a very tough year, a tough summer for her, in terms of her profile,” Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Scott Lloyd told The Sun. “It’s only a year ago she was sitting her A-Levels. Emma needs to try to find what works for her in terms of how she navigates the tour and the travelling, domestic tournaments or internationally.”
Despite the obvious need for Raducanu to learn more about what she needs to do to keep herself in the right headspace and succeed on the court, Lloyd went on to say he feels the Bromley teenager is mature enough to cope with the limelight well.
“The one point I’ll make on that will be that you saw her explore that the previous summer with inconceivable development given the conditions. She has an extremely clear mind on her shoulders,” he added. “It’s an improvement period, it’s a growth opportunity, yet she is in a decent spot. She knows what she needs to attempt to do.”
Her difficulties in recent months were summed up perfectly at the weekend’s Billie Jean King Cup tie. She won her first ever professional match on clay, beating Tereza Martincova in straight sets on Friday, but was ruthlessly dispatched by the impressive Marketa Vondrousova just a day later.
Afterwards, she revealed her movement had been severely hampered by a blister on her right foot, which had appeared after a week of intense training to prepare for her clay court debut. “I have a blister on my foot, it kind of showed up after yesterday’s match and we’ve been managing it but, as you saw, I couldn’t really move or load either way and now it’s just about trying to get it better as soon as possible,” she told reporters.
“It completely stopped me from moving, it’s tough to not even be able to chase the ball, even if the ball came around me I was struggling to get my feet out of the way and moving to my backhand. It was compromising every shot, it is very disappointing when you’re out there playing a rubber for your country and you feel completely redundant but I guess I can’t really do anything about it.”