Wimbledon icon identifies Emma Raducanu's issue and tells Briton how to fix it

Sue Barker addresses everything Raducanu has been through since winning the 2021 US Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Wimbledon icon identifies Emma Raducanu's issue and tells Briton how to fix it
© Getty Images Sport - Aurelien Meunier

Iconic Wimbledon presenter and 1977 Wimbledon semifinalist Sue Barker has offered honest advice to Emma Raducanu, telling the 21-year-old Briton to stop thinking about expectations and potential criticism and that's when good things will probably start happening again. 

When Wimbledon starts next week, it will be exactly three years since an 18-year-old Raducanu made the round-of-16 at The Championships as a wildcard. Two months after a great Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon, the Briton became a Slam champion in a historic way after winning the US Open as a qualifier. 

At the time - in just two months - Raducanu went from being regarded very talented player to being a tennis star and one of the most popular players in the game. But after things started going wrong for Raducanu, constant criticism started coming her way. 

When Raducanu returned to Wimbledon in 2022 as a Slam champion, there was a lot of attention on her. But she didn't do well, making only the second round before losing to Caroline Garcia in the second round. Last year, the British former world No. 10 didn't play at Wimbledon because in May she had three surgeries. 

Since Raducanu is a British player, there will be attention on her at Wimbledon but she hasn't made it past a Grand Slam second round since 2021 US Open and she definitely won't be considered a favorite for the title at The All England Club.

“After New York, I think people had unrealistic expectations because we in tennis know how many young first-time champions there have been – [Bianca] Andreescu, [Jelena] Ostapenko, [Sofia] Kenin – who have had to adjust," 1976 French Open champion Barker told The Telegraph

“The media pressures are more than it ever was in any other era. But now that all those expectations have lowered, I hope she can just start enjoying it again because when she burst onto the scene at that first Wimbledon she was a breath of fresh air.

“If she could just learn to love to play again – rather than feeling ‘I’ve got to win because otherwise I’m going to get criticized’ – I think she’ll turn it all around.”

Sue Barker
Sue Barker © Getty Images Sport - Ryan Pierse

Barker thinks Raducanu has enough time for the tennis part but also social life 

In the same interview, Barker addressed the mental health topic and specifically Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty opening up about how they were impacted by the lifestyle of modern tennis. 

But Barker isn't really buying that claim, highlighting that everything good comes with a sacrifice. And when it comes to Raducanu, Barker believes the 21-year-old Briton has enough time for tennis but also for some other non-tennis things. 

“You know, there are sacrifices in everything in life. Today they don’t have to play as much as we used to. If you went to Australia, you had to make it worthwhile by staying there for eight weeks. If you went to America, you had to play six tournaments. Nowadays, you can fly back, fly there, fly there, so you have plenty of off time," Barker explained. 

“[For Raducanu] I know there’s been some injuries, but I don’t think she’s played that many tournaments this year. So you do have time for that off life as well as the on. Honestly, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Raducanu said she will win a Wimbledon title 

Raducanu maybe hasn't had any Slam success since the 2021 US Open but recently said she was confident that a Wimbledon win would happen for her one day. 

"I feel good. I’m playing well and I’m training really hard, I’m doing a lot of good things and I know it’s going to happen. If not this Wimbledon, the next Wimbledon," Raducanu told Grazia in May. 

"I fully back myself and trust myself. It’s just a matter of when really. I’ve been doing all the right things so I’m just looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd."

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

After that statement, Raducanu reached the Nottingham semifinal in her first grass tournament since 2022. And making the semifinal wasn't the only positive thing that happened that week as the 21-year-old also left Nottingham feeling fully healthy.

“I just feel fit, I feel strong. I didn’t pick up any niggles. Even at the start of this year, just gaining that match fitness and being able to day after day, it’s a good position for me to be in... I am starting to trust my body a lot more. I wouldn’t say I am the finished product at all but I am getting there," Raducanu said. 

This week, Raducanu is playing in Eastbourne and she takes on Sloane Stephens in the first round.

Wimbledon Emma Raducanu Us Open