Former British No 1 pleads for patience with Emma Raducanu as he backs her to have ‘fantastic’ career

A laughing Emma Raducanu

Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski believes Emma Raducanu will need up to 18 months to adjust to life at the top, but he is confident she is “smart enough” to deal with whatever gets thrown at her.

Raducanu’s breakthrough season has been nothing short of astonishing as, at the age of 18, she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam, winning 10 matches without dropping a set en route to lifting the US Open trophy.

What made her success at Flushing Meadows even more remarkable was the fact that she lifted a major before she won a regular match on the WTA Tour.

Her maiden win on the Tour only came at the Transylvania Open in October and Rusedski warns that Raducanu should be given time and space to adapt.

“As I said when she won the US Open, give her nine months to 18 months to adjust,” he told Express Sport.

“I remember a young player by the name of Pete Sampras at 19 who won the US Open out of nowhere and nobody really knew who this kid was. It took him a good nine months to adjust to being in that situation.

“And I think with Emma, let’s not forget she hadn’t even won a match on the WTA Tour until a few weeks after the US Open, her second event, so everything’s new.”

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Raducanu parted ways with her mentor Andrew Richardson shortly after he guided her to glory at Flushing Meadows and, after an extensive search, she confirmed the experienced Torben Beltz as her new coach.

The German worked with three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber and helped her to become world No 1.

Rusedski added: “The positive news for her though, she’s hired a coach who’s worked with Kerber, who’s a multiple Grand Slam champion and world No 1.

“So I think adjusting to all the demands, all the hype, all that stuff, and making sure she has her team solid. It seems like that’s in place now, so this off-season is going to be important, and I think she’ll adjust.”

Raducanu, who turned 19 on November 13, has been in the spotlight since her New York fairytale as she attended the Met Gala and premiere of the new Bond film while she has also signed several big sponsorships.

Rusedski, though, is not too worried about her ability to handle her newfound fame.

“Well let’s not forget I mean she’s just turned 19 years of age, what are most 19-year-olds doing around the world?” he laughed.

“You’ve got to look at it, she’s put all this spotlight on herself because of her brilliance as a tennis player but she’s got to mature into the person she wants to become, and on top of that she’s got to be comfortable because it’s a whirlwind almost being unknown to probably being a global superstar.

“It’s a big transition but I think something she’s smart enough to handle. And if she’s well-managed and she puts a team around her that’s consistent for a long period of time, there’s no question she’s going to have fantastic success.”