Raducanu sees path back to the top at the Australian Open

Emma Raducanu cautions that her return is in its early stages coming into the Australian Open but thinks she has finally removed some of the mental baggage of her fairytale Grand Slam success at Flushing Meadows.

The 21-year-old astonished the tennis world by winning the U.S. Open in 2021 while still a teenage qualifier, but she has found it difficult to live up to the high expectations that were raised by that incredible accomplishment.

The British player, who missed almost eight months due to surgeries on both wrists and an ankle, is set to begin her seventh Grand Slam main draw campaign this week at Melbourne Park.

Raducanu played two matches as a wildcard in Auckland last week, winning one and losing one in a tight three-setter, which convinced her she was on the right track.

“Physically I feel good,” she told reporters on Friday. “But I think that regardless of how good I may feel on the court on a particular day or in practice, I think to get that level of consistency is going to require more time.

“I know my level is there, I just need to keep working on it to make it more consistent. I think that will come with time in the gym, time on court, being able to play the calendar, not thinking about, ‘Will I have to pull out from this one? Does that hurt?’

“I think my level, to be honest, is just too good not to come through if I put consistent work together.”

Raducanu said she had a new appreciation of life as an athlete after spending so much time incapacitated after the surgeries.

“For a period of time, I had a scooter to move around. I couldn’t text, anything,” she recalled. “It just puts things into perspective. The feeling of not being able to move your body, like to walk to the kitchen to get a snack, for example, I couldn’t do it. And you miss it.”

Raducanu has been handed a tough opening match at Melbourne Park against Shelby Rogers, the American she beat in the fourth round on her fairytale run to the 2021 U.S. Open final.

Such an explosive start to her career, especially representing a country which had gone so long without success in women’s Grand Slam tennis, inevitably led to a huge amount of expectation being lumbered on her shoulders.

Raducanu said she felt she had now shed some of that burden.

“I feel a lot lighter now than I did for a long time after the U.S. Open. I feel like I’m not playing with a backpack of rocks,” she added.

“I feel pretty light and happy.”

Share this:

Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *