Emma Raducanu suffered an alarming start to her 2022 season as she lost to 6-0, 6-1 to Elena Rybakina in Sydney on Wednesday and now a former top ten player has suggested the British teenager is not ready to shine at the Australian Open.
Raducanu shot to international fame as she came through qualifying to win the US Open last September, becoming a worldwide superstar after her historic achievement.
Yet the 19-year-old has struggled to add wins to her record since that remarkable success and the defeat against Rybakina was another sign that she will take time to adjust to life on the WTA Tour.
Now former world No.7 Barbara Schett has told Tennis365 that Raducanu may not be ready to make her mark consistently at the top of the game, as the Eurosport host gave us her views in an exclusive interview.
“We all knew this was going to be a very difficult year for her,” Schett told Tennis365, as she prepares to work for Eurosport at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“Then she plays her first match and she plays against someone who reached the final in Adelaide the week before and someone who hits the ball incredibly hard. Then she gets beaten in less than an hour. It was a surprise to me that it was 6-0, 6-1, but it wasn’t a surprise to me that she lost.
“Emma still needs to get used to the whole situation. Her life has changed completely and I have no doubt that she will have success in the future, but this is a year that she has to get used to being a Grand Slam champion and people looking at her, expecting a lot of her. It is all a matter of experience and learning.”
“You have to give her a bit of time to settle down and I don’t think she is going to do major damage at the Australian Open,” she added. “With Emma, all of this was a susprise overnight (to win the US Open).
“She booked tickets to play qualies at the US Open and all of a sudden, she takes the trophy home. That is hard to digest.
“If you speak to people who have won Grand Slam titles, they say their life was never the same. The expectations coming from the outside change when you win and coming from Great Britain, there is even more pressure and you are in the newspapers every day.
“She needs time to develop as a person and a player. It is up there in the mind, that is the toughest part, but I have no doubt she will go on and do well in the future.”
The Australian Open will be live on discovery+ and Eurosport from January 17th.
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