Emma Raducanu defeat is no surprise says Mats Wilander

Emma Raducanu

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander believes that Emma Raducanu’s first round defeat to Alize Cornet at the US Open is no surprise.

Wilander believes that a player like Cornet was always likely to be a problem for Raducanu in the early going of the tournament.

However, he feels that the defeat might mark the beginning of a new chapter in her career where expectations are a little more realistic.

“It looked to me like she was playing OK,” Wilander said on Eurosport.

“She started off well in the second set, that is when I thought she was going to turn it around.

“But there are opponents and match-ups at different parts of your career that are a good draw and not a good draw.

“I would say that for Raducanu right now, playing someone like Cornet who is smart and experienced, is not a good draw.

“[Cornet] doesn’t make mistakes and also is a giant killer, she’s not afraid of the bigger players. It’s just not a good draw. So is that [Raducanu’s loss] a surprise? Not really to be honest.

“I do think that we now are going to start seeing what Raducanu is all about.

“She’s going to drop all the ranking points, and she’s going to start from zero, except she will still be in the majors and in most tournaments.

“Hopefully, she can hang on to [current coach] Dmitry Tursunov for a little longer than a few months because I think that is important too.

“I don’t see much of a difference from Emma this year compared to last year, except she was just confident and other players were scared to play her.

“It’s obviously a surprise that the defending champion goes out but at the same time, she’s been on tour for a year and two months. It is not a worry to me at all.

“In fact, I think this is a very, very important step in her career that defending this title is over and she can now focus on her tennis, and trying to get her ranking up in a normal way, rather than just rise completely to the top.”

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Wilander opines that Raducanu really needs to find her identity as a player to thrive.

He added: “Emma is good but she’s not great.

“She had a lot of confidence last year, and she is a fighter, and she plays well.

“The only thing I don’t know is, I feel like she hasn’t quite found her identity as a player.

“Is she a bit of a risk-taker? Does she play really aggressively? Or does she use her movement skills, and dial back a little bit and play with a little bit of variation? Maybe a little bit more like Simona Halep used to play?

“I haven’t quite seen her path – what is she going to actually end up playing like?

“Because she’s good at everything, doesn’t quite have the killer shot.

“Let’s work and figure out what it is that makes her happy in terms of how she plays, and then this is how she’s going to end up playing.

“Of course, we’re always going to try and make improvements, but I think that’s the one part where I’m a little confused.

“But again, she’s so young, and she hasn’t really been given a proper chance to live a normal life. It is just nuts what happened to her.

“Right now, she’s sort of in between aggressive and not being really aggressive, and I think she can be aggressive and she has more confidence.

“Obviously, the way she played last year is the way she needs to play, but that was also a player that had so much confidence and freedom and no pressure that we most probably will never see the likes of again.

“I’m very excited to see her continue and push forwards because I do think that she seems like a great person.

“She has a great attitude.

“She’s obviously the biggest thing that happened in British sports in a long, long, long time, for the women’s side and on the men’s side, too.

“How do you deal with that? Well, it’s now back to reality, which I think could not have come soon enough to be honest.”