Emma Raducanu will relish playing without pressure, says John McEnroe

Emma Raducanu Credit: Alamy
Emma Raducanu Credit: Alamy

Great Britain’s No 1 Emma Raducanu will benefit from being the underdog in her match against Coco Gauff according to John McEnroe.

McEnroe believes the pressure will finally be off for the 20-year-old, when she takes on the top ten-ranked American.

He feels that Raducanu will be able to revert to playing a more natural game against Gauff.

“It will probably be the first time in a couple of years where Emma Raducanu won’t be feeling the type of pressure she’s been feeling since she won the US Open,” former world No. 1 McEnroe told Eurosport.

“So that’s probably a good thing to allow her to be more free and do her thing, because to me she’s the type of player, the type of person and the type of talent that we could use in the top 10.”

McEnroe conceded that it has been a tough ask to watch Raducanu fight an uphill battle on the WTA Tour.

She has had extreme difficulty in building any sort of momentum.

“It’s been hard to watch her difficulties,” said McEnroe.

“But she’s playing someone who’s gone at a slower pace and matured more gradually – Gauff is only 18 but has been on the tour for years.

“It’s a great second-round match-up and I think it’s going to be the first time in a while where Emma can really let loose and play more free. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens there.

“I think Coco is in the better position right now to make a deep run and I think it’s going to be soon that she’s going to win a major event in the next year or two at the most. To me she goes in as a heavy favourite.

“She seems to be playing better and better and serving more consistently than she has done. I would say that it’s a match she should win, but a match that could put Raducanu back on the map again, which would be good for her.”

Raducanu takes on the seventh seed in a second round match in Melbourne on Wednesday with the time and court yet to be determined.

Meanwhile another former Grand Slam champion opined that Raducanu needs to find her own style and approach on court.

Mats Wilander believes that Raducanu is a natural-born winner.

“She played really well,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“I don’t think Emma Raducanu needs to play a lot of matches because she knows how to win on the big stage. She’s responding to the pressure nicely. She’s a great player, she seems like a great human being.

“For me though, she hasn’t quite found what she’s doing out there. Is she a Novak Djokovic, am I playing more defence or offence, am I completely like Simona Halep? She’s looking for an identity, which is what you have to find and it looks like she’s searching, and that’s a good sign.”

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