Emma Raducanu: Jo Durie defends star amid sponsor criticism
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Emma Raducanu has been told it will take time to find a consistent level in elite tennis after a season ruined by fitness woes. The teenager had become an overnight superstar after winning the US Open as a qualifier in just her fourth professional event at Flushing Meadows last year.
Raducanu has not been able to replicate the form that shot her to stardom when she became the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam title. The sensational victory propelled the youngster up the rankings and she was suddenly eligible for every WTA Tour event.
But Raducanu has been unable to live up to her perhaps premature reputation as the young star in the sport, with injury struggles derailing an underwhelming season. The 19-year-old has won just 17 of 36 matches this season, and has now been ruled out of the Billie Jean King Cup finals in Glasgow with a wrist problem that has brought a frustrating but familiar end to her campaign.
Raducanu has had to cope with the pressures of being one of the faces of tennis on her first season on tour. And former British No 1 Annabel Croft believes she still needs time to adjust to her new fame off the court before her performances improve.
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“We know how good she is because we saw that at the US Open (in 2021), she is such an amazing athlete, she is so intelligent and it will just take time for her to settle down to her new found fame,” Croft told Tennis365.
“Her life has changed overnight and that is a lot to cpe with for someone so young. The talent is there and she can get it back on track quite quickly. “She is doing her apprenticeship back to front and it will take time.
“To think that she has gone from 300 in the world to a Grand Slam champion and everyone wanting a piece of her and every match she plays being on a centre court. That has to be difficult.
“Everything is being done in the glaring full view of the world’s media, press and fans. It can’t have been easy. If you take away the US Open result and look at her age, where she is at, and she has done quite well.”
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Raducanu’s wrist problem is the latest setback in an injury record that is now of growing concern. She has enlisted the help of Andy Murray’s former fitness coach Jez Green and will hope to work back to full fitness ahead of next year.
The current British No 1 has expressed her disappointment after her season was cut short in a blow to Team GB in the 12-country Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
“It’s disappointing to get the news from the doctors that I won’t be ready in time, particularly with it being on home soil,” Raducanu told the LTA. “I tried to do everything possible to get it ready in time, since my last tournament I have been working every day on physical training and rehab. I’ve got confidence in my team-mates and look forward to playing next year.”
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