NEW YORK — When Emma Raducanu arrived in New York last year, she was happily able to move about anonymously. She successfully shielded herself from the surrounding hype by watching Formula One during tournaments, listening to jazz, and eating poke bowls in her hotel room.The Times every night walking to her square. I went to buy her frozen yogurt.
Two weeks later, she appeared on the Times Square billboards and became a US Open champion and superstar.
The year that followed was one of learning, battling adversity, and adjusting to life as one of the most famous sports stars on the planet. So it’s no surprise that it was one of his mixed performances on the court.
Her 2022 US Open campaign lasted just one round as she lost 6-3, 6-3 to Alizee Cornet in 1 hour, 42 minutes on Court Louis Armstrong. She appeared resentful at times and was again struggling with the blistering problem on her racquet hands.
“It wasn’t a bad year for me at 19,” Radukanu said shortly after the loss to Cornette. “To be in the top 100, if you said that to me a year ago, I’d take it. But I think, in a way, it’s better to start over and start fresh.”
Earlier this year, people close to Radukanu talked about how she needed to take a few steps back to collect the experiences she skipped on last year’s amazing trip. how it was done
She has had to deal with injuries and a premature bout of COVID, navigate new surfaces and play with goals as a Grand Slam winner.
Prior to the US Open, Radukhanu’s Grand Slam win-loss ratio was 12-17, and this year he has three losses in the second round. But these top stats tell stories of development and valuable experience.
“[This year] It was about getting her more matches and developing the resilience the sport needs,” Ian Bates, the LTA’s head of women’s tennis, told ESPN.
According to Bates, Raducanu’s ideal “game count” is between 50 and 60. And her year was already behind schedule before it even started: She contracted her COVID in December, disrupting her preseason calendar.
“It’s not easy to make time for that at the end of the year because the tour is week, week, week,” says Bates.
She lost the Sydney Open in the first round and made it through the first round of the Australian Open, but lost in the second round to Danka Kovinic. Her rhythm was disrupted by a significant blister on her racket hand. That meant she ended up slicing her forehand in an attempt to take her pressure off her wound.
Then she injured her hip in Guadalajara in February and had back problems from March to May. I fought with a blister.
Despite her lack of experience on clay courts, she managed to win the first round at the French Open. In her first main draw at Laurent Her Garros, she defeated qualifier Linda Noskova. However, she lost in the second round to Aliaksandra Sasnovich with her 3-6 6-1 6-1.
Flank strain hampered her preparations for Wimbledon, and she made her way to the tournament in just seven matches (not matches) on the grass this year. Her participation was questionable. She managed to survive the first round threat of Alison van Uytvank – in her first match on Center Court – before losing to Caroline Garcia in the second.
That win over Van Uytvank will remain Bates as a highlight of the year for Radukanu. What did she want the moment she lost at Wimbledon? She put herself out there, was vulnerable, and won that match.
In the midst of injury and disappointment, she also tested coaches.
She split from Andrew Richardson in the wake of her US Open win and returned to Torben Belts in December, but by April the two had gone their separate ways. assumed the role on an interim basis. By the time Wimbledon began, she worked closely with one of her former best friends, Jane O’Donoghue, but she operated without an official coach. Ahead of the US Open, she has been working with Dmitry Tursunov, who has also coached Alina Sabalenka and Annette Kontaveit.
Chopping and altering received criticism, but Radukhanu responded in June: He’s already won a Grand Slam, so he knows his motivation hasn’t dwindled, so he can take his time and put things in order. ”
Bates has played a leadership role in Radukhanu’s year, not only as an interim coach, but also in his role in the LTA. “If you have people around you that you know, trust, are comfortable with, and confident with. Good.”
Over the years, the Ladukanu has become one of the sport’s most popular products for avid sponsors. All of her sponsorship obligations and deals including Porsche, Tiffany, Dior, Evian, British Her Airways, HSBC, Vodafone, Maria Sharapova and Lee Herna (picture of her Raducanu has as mobile phone lock screen ).
Earlier this year, we circled the 18 days she might be able to meet these obligations, and she’s yet to reach that quota. She also chose to keep media to a minimum.
Bates has seen firsthand what life is like for Radukhanu after his Round 16 elimination at the Madrid Open. “It was the day Manchester City played Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final,” said Bates. “We’re walking through Madrid, doing tourist stuff…and every few minutes she’s being stopped by a Manchester City fan, asking for a picture or something. She said Famous enough to transcend tennis, so she had to learn to live with it.”
Earlier this month, Radukhanu overcame a setback of the year by beating Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka at the Western and Southern Open.
“I feel like I’m heading in the right direction again,” LaDukanu said in Ohio. It almost seemed like a positive thing.Good, you kind of want to do it.It paid off a lot more than it didn’t.
But here in New York, her first practice in front of a crowd at Flushing Meadows was frustrating, and blisters forced her hands to wrap again. “It’s one of those weird days when you feel like you have nothing… I don’t know. You just feel a little sick from it. To be honest, I can’t really describe myself.” This room must have had such a day.
Her first-round draw against Cornette was tricky. Cornette played in her 63rd consecutive Grand Slam, with impressive results including reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and a victory over world No. 1 Iga Swiertek at Wimbledon, where she won 1 I went to the US Open in the off-season.
However, when Radukhanu was asked about her tournament prospects, she deflected the idea that the pressure as the reigning champion was mounting.
“I think defending the title is something the press makes up. Just focus on what’s going on. Like I said last year, I’m just going to do it my way.”
But it was inevitable: the former winner’s wall on the flagpole by the plaza in Flushing Meadows all led to the image of her holding the trophy. someone is added to
Her priority next year is to put together a consistent few weeks of tennis to build momentum and progress. The next chapter begins, with a side of her devastated by relinquishing her US Open crown, but enjoying the challenges ahead and navigating even more fresh territory.
“That is, obviously [it’s] It’s really disappointing and really sad to leave here,” Radukhanu said after the loss.but in a way [I’m] I’m happy because it’s pure white. drop the ranking. Climb on your way home. In a way the target is slightly off my back. Yeah, I have another chance to scratch my way back there. ”