Emma Raducanu’s glass still half full as she starts ‘clean slate’ following US Open exit
“I’m happy because it’s a clean slate. I’m going to drop down the rankings. Climb my way back up. The target will be off my back slightly,” was Emma Raducanu’s spirited response during a difficult press conference following her US Open exit.
Falling at the first hurdle of a Grand Slam title defence will hurt and it is going to hurt for some time, but Raducanu is right as there is life after the US Open and a drop down the WTA Rankings.
Her failure to win at Flushing Meadows was far from a bolt out of the blue and the crafty and experienced Alize Cornet can trouble anyone on her day.
Heck, the Frenchwoman has taken out a major champion in each of the four Slams this year as she beat Simona Halep at the Australian Open, Jelena Ostapenko at the French Open and Igai Swiatek at Wimbledon.
Losing against Cornet was no disgrace and anyone who watched the match will would agree that the teenager actually produced a very solid performance, but her opponent was simply better in the big moments.
Raducanu, though, is right when she says “the target will be off my slightly”. The “target” she is referring to is dreaded drop down the WTA Rankings as well as the additional pressure of having to defend a major.
On the back of her 2021 US Open fairytale, Raducanu picked up 2,030 points and surged up the rankings, eventually reaching a career-high of No 10 earlier this year.
Once the points come off when the rankings are updated on September 12, she is likely to find herself at No 80 on 726 points.
“I’ve been doing some really good work in the last six weeks especially. I’m just looking forward to putting more of those weeks together consistently, then we’ll see what happens,” she added during her press conference.
“With perspective, actually as a 19-year-old, I’ve had not a bad year. To be top 100, if you told me that a year ago, I’d take it.”
It is definitely not a bad position for a 19-year-old who has played only 29 matches this year. And definitely not something to be sniffed at when you consider she is playing in her first full season on the WTA Tour.
Raducanu played only three tournaments after her US Open success last year – losing her opening matches at Indian Wells and Linz and falling in the quarter-final in Transylvania – so she doesn’t have too many points to defend in the remainder of 2022.
What’s to come for Emma Raducanu and the WTA Tour schedule
Although Raducanu’s full schedule is yet to be confirmed, she has indicated that she will play at the Korea Open (WTA 250) from September 12.
That overlaps with the Pan Pacific Open in Japan, which offers 500 points while there are also smaller 250 events (Slovenia Open, Emilia-Romagna Open, Chennai Open, Tallinn Open).
The Ostrava Open (WTA 500), Southern California Open (WTA 500) and Mexican Open (WTA 1000) offer big points in October, but Raducanu might well decide to play at the WTA 250 Transylvania Open again.
Of course she will no longer have the comfort of being seeded so could draw a big gun early, but let’s not forget that one WTA 250 title and a win here and there could see her jump back into the top 50.
Not too many other teenagers have found themselves in the top 100 after their first full season as a professional player so she is right, her glass is half full.
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