When Emma Raducanu produced the performance of her life to win the 2021 US Open, many felt that it would be a springboard to consistent success for the young Brit. With a whole career stretching out before her, tennis fans were wondering just how many Grand Slam titles she could amass over the next few years.
Well, it’s fair to say Raducanu’s year since that maiden triumph hasn’t exactly gone to plan. A whole host of defeats have put something of a dampener on things, and a year littered by injury culminated in a disappointing first-round exit from the 2022 US Open at the hands of Alize Cornet.
Raducanu was well fancied in the US Open tennis betting odds heading into the tournament, but she just couldn’t get going at Flushing Meadows, losing 6-3 6-3 to her French opponent, bowing out of a competition that had given her such special memories just 12 months earlier.
So, how should we look back on Raducanu’s fortunes over the last year or so? Let’s take a look at a few key talking points surrounding the 19-year-old’s form.
After lifting the women’s singles title at Flushing Meadows last year, Raducanu was expected to go on and do great things in the year that followed. Of course, expectations had to be tempered slightly given her age, but it’s fair to say that she has failed to make the most of her opportunities.
Winning a Grand Slam meant her ranking was boosted greatly, giving her more favourable draws in the events she entered, and yet Raducanu still couldn’t muster any serious challenge for another title.
It’s likely that the pressure of being a Grand Slam champion has weighed heavily on her shoulders over the last year or so, and that has clearly contributed to her sub-par performances across the last 12 months despite her favourite status in the tennis betting predictions.
Injury difficulties certainly haven’t helped. Raducanu has been plagued with a series of niggles since winning in New York, and this has hampered her progress greatly. It’s unclear whether her frequent changing of coaching staff has contributed to her injury struggles, but there’s no doubt that a lack of routine and rhythm hasn’t helped.
Unfortunately for Raducanu, injuries have often occurred at the worst possible time. She picked up a problem not long before Wimbledon, and that undoubtedly hindered her chances at her home Grand Slam. For Raducanu to progress with her game, she’ll need a period of fitness to get fully into the swing of things.
Whilst the last 12 months have perhaps failed to live up to the hype, Raducanu has gained some valuable experience. The media scrutiny she has faced will have been completely new to her, and she has handled the spotlight very well.
The difficult moments endured over the course of the last year will also put Raducanu in a stronger position moving forward. It must be remembered that she is still only 19, and while this has been a year to forget, there will be plenty of opportunities for her to achieve yet more success as time goes on.