"It's going to take me time to adjust really to what's going on. I'm still so new to everything," the 2021 U.S. Open winner Emma Raducanu admitted after losing her opening round at Indian Wells. She was defeated by Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets, quite a shock from what the British teen is used to as she captured her crown without breaking a set.
She defeated Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez in straight sets and had brought a lot of positives into the last slam of the year. "Technically, I'm a qualifier so there's no stress on me" she'd say laughingly as she accepted her trophy and prize money.
But things had quickly changed for the smiley teen from England. Raducanu had enjoyed her time in the Big City as she felt like a queen attending morning shows, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and getting a short tour as well as tons of press conferences on how she captured the New York title.
She started back practising and was awarded a wild card for the next tournament, the PNB Paribus at Indian Wells. There was also a major change in her playing regime as she felt it wise to change coaches after the Open. She'd have to get used to this and then was scheduled to play a night match as her first down in the Desert.
"Playing at night is going to be different and I haven't had much experience playing at night...I only played one time before on Ashe," she quietly acknowledged at her press conference. Emma had many tangibles that could have led to her Indian Wells' defeat.
In order to play well, consistency and participation with a lot of matches on her racket help in the road to success. Raducanu wasn't in that situation either as she revealed that "I'm not matching tight right now, like I haven't played a competition in a month."
The question would be why? There probably wasn't enough time and plus between going to events in her honour and then returning home to be with family and friends, time had flown with very little advantage to rest and enjoy the victory and life.
There will be more time now for Raducanu to relax and get her game together along with enjoying the situation. Emma needs to get more ingrained in being on tour along with playing on different surfaces and a diverse amount of countries and people.
The Brit's opponent wasn't a good match either as the Belarusian has been on tour for nearly ten years, winning many ITF singles and double titles. Raducanu's time at Indian Wells might have been short but she's glad of having the experience saying "I'm really grateful for the wild card I got here."
She realizes the work it will take to be a sharp player as she was in the Open. Getting back to square one is essential for the British teen and she emphasizes that "I have to get my head back to the drawing board."
But being hard on herself isn't Emma Raducanu's thing and she looks at things logically saying "I'm 18-years-old. I need to cut myself some slack."