'Independent' Emma Raducanu has blunt but very honest message for critics

Raducanu says she is now only doing things her way.

by Dzevad Mesic
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'Independent' Emma Raducanu has blunt but very honest message for critics
© Getty Images Sport - Kate Green

Emma Raducanu remains unbothered about any of the criticism she may receive as the 21-year-old says she is now doing things her way and plans to keep it that way. 

Two weeks ago, Raducanu started receiving positive comments about her grass season start after making the Nottingham semifinal. But the mood changed after Raducanu concluded her Nottingham run and said that she decided to withdraw from the Paris Olympics because she thought that there was a risk of contracting an injury if she went from grass to clay in such a short time.

On Tuesday, Raducanu resumed action as she started her debut at a WTA 500 tournament in Eastbourne with a 6-4 6-0 win over Sloane Stephens. In her post-match press conference, the British tennis star said she is now acting "independent" and that is something that she enjoys. 

“I’m going to do things on my own time. I’m in no rush to do anything and everything I am doing and playing for now is for myself," Raducanu said.

“Whether that’s tournament scheduling, whether that’s how much time I take off to train compared to compete, I think I’m just way more focused on my own lane and less susceptible to outside opinions or views. I’m just enjoying it, just doing everything for myself and really just being independent out here.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Kate Green
 

Raducanu on becoming 'a different person'

At just 21, Raducanu has been through more than the majority of regular players go through during their entire careers. After basically becoming a tennis star and one of the most popular players overnight, Raducanu experienced the negative side of fame and popularity once she started losing more frequently. 

In the past years, Raducanu admitted to being impacted by everything that was said or written about her. But now, she says she has learned how to deal with such situations and not bother at all about the opinions that are out there about her. 

“It’s pretty natural becoming a different person overnight almost with the circumstances, not necessarily myself, at such a young age," Raducanu said.

“It’s easier to get caught up in it and at one point I was chasing playing too many tournaments and then I was just picking up niggle after niggle in every tournament because I never really gave myself any time to do the training. That is something I’ve done a lot better this year.

“Even though I might get challenged or questioned for not playing certain tournaments, like the French Open or the Olympics, that is just part of it, doing things at my own speed and how I want to, rather than how everyone else thinks is best for me.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Kate Green
 

Raducanu on her first match in Eastbourne

In 2022, Raducanu signed up to play in Eastbourne but an injury sustained just before Wimbledon didn't allow her to make her debut at the tournament back then. And after undergoing three surgeries in 2023 May, it was impossible for the Briton to play in Eastbourne last year as well. But this year, the 21-year-old is fully healthy and her Eastbourne finally happened.

For some players, playing in Eastbourne can be tricky due to the windy conditions there. But on Tuesday, the weather was perfect for Raducanu's first-ever match at the tournament and the Britonloved it out there.  

“For me, it was a case of adapting to the court, I’ve never played in Eastbourne, I've never played on this Centre Court. Every court plays a little bit differently and, in the beginning, I was just figuring out which is the best way for me to play and use my game," Raducanu explained. 

“It was a very close first set and I was down quite a bit and managed to break but it was difficult because Sloane is super athletic and in the first set especially she was making a lot of balls. It took a lot to try and hit through her and I think I managed to figure it out in the second set.

“I could really hear the crowd and feel it. It’s a lot bigger court than in Nottingham so it’s really nice to see so many people out there in the heat. I really like it here, the weather especially is beautiful so I’m going to make the most of that.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Charlie Crowhurst
 

Today, Raducanu will return to the court for her Eastbourne round-of-16 match, in which she will take on No. 2 seed Jessica Pegula. In the past, Raducanu met Pegula once as the American tennis star won their 2022 Cincinnati meeting in two sets.

Emma Raducanu
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