Emma Raducanu blasts tennis ‘sharks’ who ‘have seen her as their piggy bank’ since US Open breakthrough
- Tennis star Emma Raducanu called the women’s tour ‘completely brutal’
Tennis star Emma Raducanu called the women’s tour “completely brutal”, describing it as “not a very pleasant, confident and safe space”.
In an excoriating assessment of how young players are treated, she lambasted how industry ‘sharks’ have viewed her as their ‘piggy bank’ since her breakthrough at the US Open two years ago .
Since her shock victory in the major tournament, Ms Raducanu has signed multi-million pound sponsorship deals with Nike, Tiffany & Co, British Airways and Vodafone. She told the Sunday Times: “I had to mature very quickly. When I won I was extremely naive. What I’ve achieved in the last two years, the tour and everything that comes with it , it is not a very pleasant, confident and safe space.
“You have to be on your guard because there are a lot of sharks there. I think people in the industry, especially with me because I was 19, now 20, they see me as a piggy bank.
“It was difficult to navigate. I have been burned several times. I learned, keep your circle as small as possible.
GLAMOUR: Tennis star Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu in action against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during their first round match at the Stuttgart Grand Prix Tennis on April 18 in Stuttgart, Germany
Ms Raducanu said her experience had also been marred by a series of injuries – she is recovering from three operations – and the pain intensified after Wimbledon last year. “I was struggling with the physical pain, but the mental side was also very difficult for me,” she said.
“If I lost a match, I would be really dejected. I was under so much pressure to play, people had no idea what was going on and I had to have this facade. I’m very young and I’m still learning and making mistakes. It’s a lot harder when you make mistakes in front of everyone… the tour is completely brutal.
Despite her experiences, the last two years have brought personal happiness to Raducanu – she has developed a close friendship with former Harrow boss Carlo Agostinelli, 22.
They are believed to have met when she became Dior’s “global ambassador” and was introduced to the company’s Parisian public relations manager, Mathilde Favier – Carlo’s mother.