Emma Raducanu at the crossroads but her haters are disgusting

The British tennis player has re-approached tennis after months out following three surgeries last spring. Now, the young winner of the 2021 US Open must decide what will happen to her professional career

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Emma Raducanu at the crossroads but her haters are disgusting
© Francois Nel / Staff Getty Images Sport

She had deluded the media and fans about the US Open 2021, but then the promises and expectations were not respected. Either due to the pressure that overwhelmed her, perhaps due to her negative performances, perhaps due to a few too many injuries.

Then came the three surgeries last spring and the consequent forced stop until the beginning of 2024. At the same time, her focus became fashion, in the months out of the WTA Tour. Many fans criticized her harshly (and unfairly!), saying how she is too focused on her life off the court, rather than in tennis. In short, Emma Raducanu's parable can be translated with a simple phrase: from riches to rags. Emma no longer found that tennis, both due to injuries and non-tennis situations.

But I want to be clear about one thing: over the years, since her victory in New York, I have been disgusted by the fans' harsh reaction towards the young Briton. She won a Slam, then her professional career didn't go well, which can happen. It's happened to others before her. But Emma is a young girl and she has the right to do what she wants, she also has the right to lose matches, to focus on her private life and fashion. Therefore, to the fans I say: leave her alone!

Going back to talking about the court, Emma seems to have started with a different attitude this year, the former number 10 in the world hopes to return to a good level soon and in the meantime she is working by participating in more tournaments. This week Emma is back on the court again, she faces a difficult path and works to try to get closer to the best condition.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Francois Nel / Staff Getty Images Sport

Raducanu confirmed before the tournament that she is nowhere near her 100% at the moment, but she is working to continue improving and has clear goals for the start of this season. At the beginning of 2024 Emma reached the round of 16 in Auckland while she exited in the second round of the Australian Open, despite this we saw a competitive tennis player eager to return to the top.

In an interview with The National, in fact, she said: "I'm still looking for the best condition and to feel comfortable on the playing field, I'm not completely there yet but I know that with time I will become competitive again. I'm patient and I'm quite grateful for what's around me, I'm trying seriously.

I'm just trying to improve my game, I'm not a finished product but far from it, I feel now is the time to make a breakthrough, in the last two years I've had several illnesses and injuries now I can't wait to focus on the field and improve my level, so the results will come," she explained.

Emma has reached a crossroads, her professional career can restart from 2024. Time is on her side. You are still so young that you can use your career as much as you want. It's true, many of her peers (a year older or younger) are ahead. Just think of Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff. Everyone has their own times and ways, her priorities.

Emma needs to get back into physical shape, first of all. And she can do this by training and playing matches, in order to find the rhythm of the challenges. Her tennis must always be there. The many changes of coaches certainly didn't help her. Relying on an expert coach, used to training a player all-around, would be a decisive step.

An example? Look at what an experienced coach like Darren Cahill did after he joined Jannik Sinner's team. The improvements of the young Italian have been impressive. If Emma found a similar situation, I am still certain that she could follow a path similar to that of young Jannik.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

In these hours Emma is playing at the Abu Dhabi Open, after which she passed the first round by beating the Czech Marie Bouzkova and will now challenge the Tunisian Ons Jabeur in the second round. It will be a challenging match, where Emma will be able to see where her psycho-physical level is at.

A tougher challenge against a tennis player who plays well on hard courts. A test that will also help the young British player understand where she will have to work to improve and regain her tennis (and her physical form) in the coming weeks.

I repeat: I am sure that she has her best tennis within you but, as mentioned, she also has the right to play badly, to lose matches or to look at your private life. Therefore, if you do not obtain the results she is looking for, she will still need to be supported, not challenged. If they did this to your daughter or your sister, how would you react?

Emma Raducanu Us Open