Emma Raducanu asks for patience and the expectations of fans to be reined in as she adjusts to her new-found fame… with the US Open champion ready for action in Romania amid her ongoing search for a new coach
- Emma Raducanu stunned the sporting world when she won the US Open title
- She wants expectations to be reined in as she adjusts to her new-found fame
- Raducanu announced she would no longer be working with Andrew Richardson
- The Brit is ‘optimistic’ about finding a new coach before the Australian Open
Emma Raducanu resumes the shiny new phase of her career on Tuesday afternoon, asking that the world keeps in check its expectations of her.
She will step out in front of deserted stands to play Polona Hercog at the Transylvania Open, the Covid curfew in this city making it different in every sense to her post-US Open appearance at Indian Wells.
Raducanu’s plea was endorsed by former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, a late bloomer by comparison who has gone on to become Romania’s most celebrated sports star.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu has asked the tennis world to rein in expectations of her
‘I kind of went from zero to the top of the game, so it’s obviously going to take some time to adjust,’ said Raducanu.
‘I feel like everyone should just be a little patient with me. I am going to find my tennis, I just need a little bit of time. But I am really enjoying it.’
Halep, one of her idols growing up, served a four-year apprenticeship on the WTA Tour before breaking through at 22 when she made the French Open final.
An unknown at 18, she can only imagine herself walking in Raducanu’s shoes. ‘Even if she is so young I think she still feels the pressure, it’s normal, everybody does,’ said the 30-year-old Romanian.
‘You guys should enjoy the way she is. She is super nice and we are waiting for her to grow up a little bit in this level because she just jumped.
‘She did something great and probably will need some time to see how it is every week to be there. Then she will become much stronger.’
The Brit stunned the sporting world when she won the Flushing Meadows title in September
After that likely process of adjustment Halep believes a glittering path lies ahead.
‘She already achieved a Grand Slam title and she is able to achieve everything,’ added Halep.
‘Easily she can make the top 10 because she is already close. She has a bright future and, for sure, she will be one of the best players in the world.’
Halep is right to preach caution and it remains true that Raducanu has missed out on key development steps compared to other surprise winners of majors.
The next year is sure to involve the British No 1 having to fill in some of the blanks. When Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17, for example, she was seeded 13th and had reached the last eight in Paris.
More recently, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu had six months previously won the title at Indian Wells.
Raducanu cut ties with ex-Davis Cup player Andrew Richardson after her historic US Open win and is still on the hunt for a new coach
Perhaps the closest comparison is with Poland’s Iga Swiatek, 20, who took Roland Garros by storm last year from a ranking of 54.
Yet that was her seventh appearance at a major and she had reached the fourth round in the 2019 French Open. She began 2020 by making the last 16 of the Australian Open.
It may be an interesting pointer for Raducanu that in Swiatek’s follow-up season her match record is 33-12. The highlights have been winning the Italian Open and Adelaide International and solid showings at the Slams as she settles into her level, ranked 11.
Hercog, 30, is a kind-looking draw at an event where crowds are banned due to Covid cases. The Slovenian is best remembered by UK audiences for her part in a thrilling third round at Wimbledon two years ago which saw her edged out by a 15-year-old Coco Gauff.
Ranked 124, she has had a poor second half to the season and not beaten a top-100 player since Roland Garros.