Emma Raducanu: How comparisons with legends show she's NOT falling short of expectations

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There is no doubt that Emma Raducanu has struggled to live up to expectations since she won the US Open last year.

Of course, whether those expectations are even remotely fair is another matter. Was a teenager being suddenly thrust into the limelight and immediately reeling off Grand Slam titles ever going to actually happen? Well, it has happened before, but very rarely.

It is much more common for tennis players, even the very best ones in modern history, to be made to wait before they win a second major, as the following list proves.

Serena Williams - 1 year, 11 months, 28 days

If you want to start with comparisons, you might as well start with the greatest women's player to pick up a racket this century.

In the early part of her career, Serena Williams played second fiddle to her big sister Venus, although that didn't last long.

Serena, like Raducanu, won the US Open as an 18-year-old. That was back in 1999, and it took her nearly two years to win another major. When it came, it was at the same tournament.

Iga Swiatek - 1 year, 7 months, 25 days

Iga Swiatek holding the trophy after winning the French Open 2022
Iga Swiatek holding the trophy after winning the French Open 2022

We can also look at the top women's player in the world today for a comparison and it also highlights that Raducanu is not really failing right now.

Iga Swiatek has won two French Open titles in her career, although they were more than 18 months apart.

Her first came in similar conditions to Raducanu's run at the US Open too, with her winning Roland Garros as a relatively unknown teenager.

Novak Djokovic - 3 years, 3 days

In fairness, everything Novak Djokovic does deserves an asterisk. Achieving what he is remarkable regardless, but doing it with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in his way makes it even more incredible.

Novak Djokovic with Wimbledon trophy
Novak Djokovic with Wimbledon trophy

That was the case with his first two wins in Grand Slam events too. He got his hands on his first major as a 21-year-old back in 2008 at the Australian Open. It would be more than three years before he'd win another major.

However, with Nadal and Federer at their peak back then too, that he won another at all is impressive enough, never mind another 19 (and counting).

Rafael Nadal - 1 year, 6 days

Rafael Nadal needs a bit of an asterisk here as well. Granted, it only took him just over a year to win a second major, but the French Open factor cannot be ignored.

Rafael Nadal - Where is he in list of most Grand Slam titles
Rafael Nadal - Where is he in list of most Grand Slam titles

Nadal is a completely different player at Roland Garros to anywhere else - he has only lost three matches there in 20 years. Unsurprisingly, both of his first Grand Slam titles came in Paris. In fact, all of his first four did.

Perhaps with Nadal it is fairer to consider how long it was between his first Roland Garros title and his first at a different major - and that was 3 years, 1 month, 2 days.

Andy Murray - 300 days, but...

While we are doing asterisks, we have to throw Andy Murray in there. As the only other British Grand Slam event winner in the modern era, he is perhaps the most comparable to Emma Raducanu.

Once Murray won one major, the 2012 US Open, he quickly rattled off another less than a year later.

However, it's worth pointing out that while that may look like the kind of immediate success that Raducanu is struggling to reproduce, it took the Scotsman a long time to get one at all.

Andy Murray at Wimbledon
Andy Murray at Wimbledon

In fact, there were 4 years, 2 months and 4 days between his first Grand Slam final and his second Grand Slam title.

Maria Sharapova - 2 years, 2 months, 6 days

Maria Sharapova was another player who, like Raducanu, had success very early in her career. The Russian was just 17 when she won the first of her five majors, at Wimbledon in 2004.

Many were expecting her to emulate the likes of Martina Hingis and Monica Seles and go on to dominate the WTA in her teens, but it never happened.

In fact, it took her more than two years to win a second major, with it coming at the 2006 US Open.

Andre Agassi - 2 years, 2 months, 6 days

There was more than two years between Andre Agassi's first Grand Slam final, which he lost, and his first major title.

When it came, it came at Wimbledon. Him and his mullet rampaging around the courts at SW19 was certainly one of the most memorable sporting images of 1992. He ended up with eight Grand Slam titles before he was done, but there were two years between his first two.

Kim Clijsters - 4 years, 3 days

Kim Clijsters was actually a world number one long before she won a major, which perhaps shows how difficult it is to win a major.

She won the first of her four majors at the 2005 US Open and it's fair to say that even then the floodgates didn't exactly open. Her second Grand Slam title was the US Open too - four years after her first.

Pete Sampras - 2 years, 9 months, 25 days

Until the big three came along, Pete Sampras was not only a benchmark in men's tennis, he was the benchmark.

He won 14 majors in his career, setting a new record for the men's game. It even took him a little while to master it, though.

After winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 1990, he had to wait the best part of three years before 1993 at Wimbledon when he was able to do it again.

Ashleigh Barty - 2 years, 1 month, 2 days

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty shocked everyone when she retired earlier this year. When she walked away in her mid-20s she was a three-time major winner and looked destined to add plenty more to that total.

She had to wait more than two years between her first Grand Slam title at the 2019 French Open and her second at Wimbledon in 2021.

In fairness to her, those two years cover a period of time that was severely interrupted by injury, but it shows that very few players get to reel off major wins in succession, especially when they are just getting started.

The article Emma Raducanu: How comparisons with legends show she's NOT falling short of expectations appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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