Emma Raducanu’s bizarre press conference in Madrid leaves reporters confused
Emma Raducanu has endured a challenging start to 2023 and it seems her troubles on the court are now being taken into the press conference room.
In a bizarre exchange with reporters ahead of her Madrid Open first round match against Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova, she appeared to be reluctant to answer questions posed to her.
Raducanu has been struggling with a wrist problem in recent months and it was inevitable that she would get questions about that.
This was also a chance for reporters to ask the British No 1 why she opted to declare herself unavailable for the Billie Jean King Cup contest against France earlier this month.
Yet instead of answering those valid questions, Raducanu appeared to be reluctant to take part in the media event in the Spanish capital.
When asked about her wrist problem, the 2021 US Open champion responded: “We’re managing it.”
There were similarly terse responses to subsequent questions, as she offered up just 58 words in response to 16 questions before a WTA official stepped in to end the awkward stand-off.
Raducanu was noted for her impressively mature handling of the media as she broke through at the top of the game in 2021.
Yet there has been an increasingly negative tone to the coverage of Raducanu as she has failed to build momentum on the WTA Tour.
There has also been a lot of negativity flowing towards the young star in recent months and it seems she is not enjoying her time in the spotlight.
Raducanu could drop out of the top 100 in the WTA rankings unless she has a dramatic revival in fortunes, with her lack of experience on clay courts ensuring she will not be playing on her favoured surface over the next month.
The 20-year-old confirmed that she has deleted her Instagram account from her phone, with her 2.5million followers one of the big assets she still has in her effort to hang on to her sponors.
Yet it remains to be seen whether these A-list brands will stand by Raducanu if she cannot find a winning formula on the court soon.
She has been given support by some of the biggest names in the game, with 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert convinced the youngster will win big titles again.
“I think the mental part and the physical part go hand in hand. I think the mental part is just as important, if not more important, than the physical part,” Evert told Eurosport.
“I don’t know her well enough, actually, to answer that question, but I think I see a little more determination in her eyes, and I know she’s not a flash in the pan.
“I think she is here to stay, and she is here to compete with the Cocoa and the top players. And she will I don’t know what her ranking is now, but she’s definitely going to be a top ten player.
“She had a tough run after she won the US Open and I don’t think she really knew what hit her after a while, and everybody was really gunning for her, and she played scared a little bit.
“I liked how aggressive and bold she was at Indian Wells and how she was hitting out on the ball and not afraid to go for her shot. She was really going for her shots and matching the power of some very powerful players.
“I think there’s been enough time since the US Open where she can take a deep breath now and she can say that was then, this is now, and this is what I need to do
“Hopefully she won’t be emotional about it and not let the pressure get to her.
“Now she’s starting from down here (in the rankings), and she has only one place to go, and that’s up.
“Her game won’t break down like maybe other players might under pressure. She’s very solid and very concise and moves well and plays athletic tennis.
“So I think she’s going to have a much better year than she had last year, even though it is tough on the tour now.
“Women’s tennis is so deep now. There’s not one player dominating, but there are a lot of players that on a given day could win a tournament and win a major.”
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