Former British No 1 with a message for Emma Raducanu’s critics

Emma Raducanu in action

Negativity has been hovering over Emma Raducanu for much of the last year, but former British No 1 Andrew Castle believes the criticism flowing in her direction has been misplaced.

Raducanu is set for a spell away from the game after undergoing surgery to correct the wrist problem that has been troubling her for almost a year, with the 2021 US Open champion confirming she will also have surgery on her ankle and will miss the French Open and Wimbledon this summer.

It remains to be seen when the 20-year-old will return to action, yet Castle suggests the break away from the game may give Raducanu a chance to recharge her batteries after a tumultuous change in her life since the US Open.

Snipers on social media appear to have relished Raducanu’s fall from prominence, with the lucrative sponsorship deals she signed after the victory at Flushing Meadows often used as evidence that she has taken her eye off the tennis ball.

Yet respected broadcaster Castle has urged those criticising Raducanu to withdraw their venom, as he puts some perspective on her story.

“It seems like everyone has an attitude towards her one way or the other,” Castle told Tennis365 at a Game4Padel event.

“When you are out on the tour, especially when you have become massively famous very quickly and your life has changed overnight, it’s not easy.

“If people look back over the last year or two in their lives and reflect on what has happened, it is probably quite a lot.

“For Emma, that is multiplied a million times over. She went front unknown to Grand Slam champion and all the madness that goes with it.

“She would have asked are my friends? How am I interacting with them and are they interacting with me because I’m famous?

“Relationships with family members, her new status in the world, a dramatically changed financial situation. 

“Add in dealing with her celebrity status, cameras and she is a young woman handling all this on her own. 

“I think it takes a hell of a lot of adjustment and even if she never recovers to find the form she showed in New York to win the US Open, she has still had a very fine career.

“My message would be just relax. Give her some time and try and enjoy it all.”

Andrew Castle at a Game4Padel event
Andrew Castle spoke to Tennis365 at a Game4Padel event in London

Castle believes Raducanu may be able to return to the tour with a fresh mindset if she resolves her fitness issues, as he added issues around her sponsorship deals and constantly changing coaching position should not be the focus. 

“She could get to the point where she says I will travel without an entourage,” he added. “No coach, no nutritionist and just try and enjoy the experience of playing in these big events.

“We have seen what Emma Raducanu can produce when she is relaxed and playing with freedom. Hopefully we get to see that again.”

Raducanu confirmed in a post on her social media platforms that she has had surgery on her wrist and will have a second operation on her other wrist in the coming days.

She will also have a procedure on her ankle and when she returns to the game, she will be outside of the top 100 in the WTA rankings.