Injured tennis star Emma Raducanu said she sometimes wished her shock victory at the 2021 US Open never happened as she struggled to meet the physical and mental demands placed on her.
The Canadian-born British player was just 18 when she claimed an incredible Grand Slam title in New York without dropping a qualifying set.
However, Raducanu failed to reach those heights as injuries and a series of coaching changes took their toll over the past two years.
The world number 128 will miss Wimbledon next month as she recovers from ankle and wrist surgery.
“That moment on the court, when I was celebrating (the US Open win), I was like, I would trade literally any fight in the world for that moment,” Raducanu told The Times.
“Anything can happen, I’ll take it for what I have right now because it’s the best thing in the world. I promised myself that on the pitch that day.
“Since then, I’ve had a lot of setbacks, one after another. I’m resilient, my tolerance is high, but it’s not easy. And sometimes I think to myself: “I wish I had never won the US Open, I wish that hadn’t happened”.
“So I was like, ‘remember that feeling, remember that promise’ because it was completely pure.”
Raducanu’s astonishing victory saw her become one of the most commercially demanded sports cars in the world almost overnight.
The 20-year-old counts Nike, Porsche, Vodafone and Dior among her sponsors.
However, Raducanu said she had to grow up fast on the WTA Tour to avoid being used as a “piggy bank”.
“The tour is completely brutal,” she added. “What I’ve realized over the past two years, the tour and everything that comes with 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.
“The navigation was difficult. I have been burned several times. I learned, keep your circle as small as possible.
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