Emma Raducanu can hit the reset button and be ‘free’ after US Open, says tennis pundit
Emma Raducanu is unlikely to repeat her US Open success this year, but an early exit will give her an opportunity to start building again and look to the future, according to former world No 7 Barbara Schett.
The teenager stunned the sporting world last September when she became the first qualifier – man or woman – to lift a Grand Slam trophy, winning 10 matches on the trot without dropping a set to secure the title at Flushing Meadows.
Although Raducanu’s success in New York was a major surprise, it did come on the back of a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon, but she has struggled to replicate that success this year.
The 19-year-old is yet to win three matches in a row in 2022 and has lost in the second round of all three Grand Slams.
Besides the pressure of defending a Grand Slam title, there is added weight on her young shoulders as she will lose 2,000 points in the WTA Rankings if she doesn’t win back-to-back trophies at Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu is currently 11th in the rankings with 2,756 points and will drop outside the top 70 if she fails to defend her title.
Schett, though, feels the British youngster can start building again.
“I think everything starts after [the US Open],” she told Eurosport. “Whatever happens in New York, that’s when she is free and that’s when she can look ahead and doesn’t have to think about all those points which are going to come off.
“If she has to start from zero, then she starts from zero. It’s not zero like with somebody else because she has won a Grand Slam title. She has that under her belt.
“Don’t forget, as a Grand Slam champion, you get unlimited amount of wildcards as well. So she could play at every tournament in the main draw, so she doesn’t have to go through qualifying anymore, so it’s a different status. So she doesn’t really have to start from zero.
“But she’s preparing herself for whatever happens and you have to protect yourself as well, your mental state of mind.”
There were signs of improvement for Raducanu at the recent Western & Southern Open as she took out 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in the first round and two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka in the second round, losing just six games in the process.
However, Schett admits it is unlikely that she will retain her US Open title.
“The way she’s been playing this year, there’s a good chance this [an early exit] is going to happen,” explained Schett.
“The chances that she’s winning the US Open once again, I think, are not huge because she hasn’t performed at a tournament where she has won many matches in a row for a long period of time, since last year, pretty much. So that’s what I’m worried the most.
“But she’s prepared, I think, and she wants to prepare for the journalists as well because she’s probably going to get a very hard time, especially from the Brits.”
Holger Rune reunites with Patrick Mouratoglou as he reaffirms his huge goals
“With him I have achieved some of the greatest triumphs of my career so far.”
Andy Murray set for ranking drop as he declares ‘this game isn’t for me anymore’ in brutal loss
Andy Murray’s ranking is set to suffer after his painful, marathon loss in Doha.
Stan Wawrinka gives telling Novak Djokovic verdict as he answers GOAT question
“I know how hard it was to win with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the draws.”
‘Jannik Sinner shares champion’s mentality with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal’, feels former world No 8
“That’s the champion’s mentality. These guys are always looking to get better.”
What Carlos Alcaraz’s Rio misfortune means for Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner in ATP Rankings race
Novak Djokovic set to stay at No 1 while Jannik Sinner is breathing down Carlos Alcaraz’s neck.
Andy Murray issues ‘huge apology’ to his wife ‘for whatever I was doing to her mouth’
Trust Andy Murray to pipe up with a funny comment about his first-ever ATP title win.
WATCH: ATP player suffers incredible meltdown – A racket smash, a point penalty and ‘a bit of fortune’
Botic van de Zandschulp had a second set to forget in Qatar.
WATCH: Carlos Alcaraz has a ‘ball on his ankle’ after unfortunate Rio Open incident
It was a painful one for Carlos Alcaraz in Rio.
Distraught Carlos Alcaraz gives injury update after Rio retirement
Carlos Alcaraz retired hurt from his first-round match in Rio.