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JO DURIE: A wonderful talent with a great attitude, I hope we get to see the real Raducanu soon

JO DURIE: The current ranking of 11 flatters Emma and has high expectations of her but she is a great talent with a great attitude and I hope we get to see the real Raducanu soon

  • Emma Raducanu has hardly had the right preparation for Wimbledon
  • She likes a fast hard track and should be looking forward to playing on grass
  • Life as a grand slam champion is associated with increased emotional and mental stress

I’ve tried to understand what it must have been like for Emma Raducanu over the year and even I found it difficult. God knows what it’s been like for Emma to see her life change so drastically.

Last summer, Emma was an almost unknown teenager who played uninhibited to win the US Open. As a fan of British tennis it was great to see her perform so freely, but unsurprisingly she has struggled a bit since then.

She just can’t put together a series of matches without breaking. It must be very frustrating for her. It certainly makes it very difficult to judge her form going to Wimbledon.

Emma Raducanu has hardly had good preparation for Wimbledon due to injury

Emma Raducanu has hardly had good preparation for Wimbledon due to injury

Emma has adapted well to clay in the spring. But she likes a fast, hard track and should look forward to playing on grass. Still, she will enter this week’s tournament after barely playing half a match on the surface, having pulled a muscle in her first round match at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham.

It’s not exactly the right preparation. Basically she should just get this tournament and the US Open out of the way, by then she will have a ranking that better reflects where her career is at. She definitely deserved her success in New York, but her current ranking of 11 flatters Emma right now and sets a lot of expectations for her.

As an 18-year-old, Emma won the US Open before even playing a match on the WTA Tour. People have said it was inevitable that she would then struggle with the physical demands of the senior tour, especially at such a young age.

But she had made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon and reached the final of another event, the WTA Chicago Challenger, ahead of Flushing Meadows. There she won a slam after playing 10 consecutive matches, including three qualifiers. And you’re telling me she wasn’t fit and ready to play senior tennis? I’m not buying it.

The teen likes a fast, hard track and should look forward to playing on grass

The teen likes a fast hard track and would look forward to playing on grass

Instead, I wonder about her exercise regimen. I think players are overtraining these days. I really. Yes, there is a place for the gym to make sure your body strength is well balanced. To eliminate your physical weaknesses, however, most of the training should be done on the tennis court. You are primarily a tennis player and your body adapts to the physical demands of the game by playing it.

I wonder if she’s increased her training workload since the US Open. It’s what many players would have done if they went to the WTA tour. With the prize money from the US Open, Emma could certainly have spent a lot more on specialist advice in this direction.

She has split with two coaches since her win in New York. I hope she soon enters into a long-term relationship with a coach and benefits from the stability that will bring.

As it is, life as a grand slam champion comes with increased emotional and mental stress. That, in turn, will put her under physical stress. It will literally stress her muscles and that’s when things start to break down.

Life as a grand slam champion is associated with increased emotional and mental stress

Life as a grand slam champion is associated with increased emotional and mental stress

I don’t blame Emma for applying to blue chip sponsors. Some reports estimate her revenue from these deals at as much as £10 million a year. My goodness, she shouldn’t be criticized for taking that kind of money as long as it’s available.

But it brings a different kind of pressure. These big companies expect success. Their message to players is: we support you because we are winners and you are a winner. It’s not easy to play with freedom with that expectation on you.

I hope people will consider her struggle at Wimbledon, but I think it will be a very difficult experience for her.

You get hundreds of people in the media room there, not just tennis journalists and broadcasters, and they want to know all kinds of details about your life. If you are the great British hope, you must be very determined to deal with it. You should avoid reading everything and don’t let your environment tell you about it.

Personally, I struggled with it at times, especially when I reached number 5 in the world and I was expected to win all the time, even though I played in the era of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Thank goodness I played in a time before social media! That would have made it much harder to turn off the sound.

Emma is a great talent with a great attitude. I love how she attacks the ball and in form she is not afraid to play her shots. I just hope we see that Emma again soon.

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