Emma Raducanu given sage advice by tennis icon – ‘Once you learn that, you’re okay’

Emma Raducanu in action

Emma Raducanu has been urged to “not to listen to criticism” with tennis great Billie Jean King saying she will mentally do much better once she learns to switch off when it comes to online bullying.

It has been a difficult two years for Raducanu following her fairytale US Open win in 2021 as she has struggled with form and injury.

After reaching a career-high No 10 in the WTA Rankings on the back of her stunning Grand Slam win as a qualifier at Flushing Meadows, the youngster went off the boil and failed to replicate that success on the regular Tour.

By the end of 2022 she had slipped out of the top 70 in the world and her spiral continued this year as she dropped out of the top 100. Her injury woes also contributed as she missed several events before eventually deciding to undergo surgery on both her wrists and ankle.

As a result, she missed the French Open and Wimbledon, and will also not feature at the US Open with her return date still up in the air.

Raducanu has come in for a lot of stick over the past year – especially on social media – but King feels the 20-year-old should not take anything to heart.

“I just know it’s gotten tough for her, I just hope that she’ll be alright because it’s tough,” the American – a 12-time Grand Slam singles title winner – told Sky Sports. “If you want to be a professional athlete, it’s tough.

“And you’ve got to learn not to listen to criticism, you got to learn all these things and that’s why I say don’t take anything personally because once you learn that, you’re okay. And if people are bullying you on social media you’ve got to stop looking at it or get some way to finish up, it’s really important.

“But I hope she continues to play, I hope she gets over injuries and comes back and really does well in tennis and particularly in the US Open because she’s won that one now, and the way she won it is still amazing, so I hope she keeps playing.”

King, one of the all-time sporting greats due to her on court success and off-court activism, was also full of praise for Raducanu following her success in 2021.

Aged just 18, Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a major as she won 10 matches without dropping a set. The win also ended Great Britain’s drought when it came to women’s Grand Slam winners as she was the first major champion since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

“When Emma Raducanu won [the US Open] it was fantastic,” she said. “I think Emma has done so well. Just think about this, she won 10 matches in a row, she did not lose a set. She won every single one of those 10 matches in straight sets. I don’t think anyone comes close to that. I hope she appreciates [it], I don’t think she probably does yet.

“As she gets older, no matter what happens to her life she’ll always have this US Open title – always and forever. And the way she did it: Wow! It’s amazing.

“I remember giving her the trophy and she speaks so well, she’s such a great representative. She speaks fluently in Mandarin, she probably can speak Romanian and English and the way she speaks, she’s just a great communicator. So I think Britain is really lucky to have her. And I think she’s fantastic.”

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