Emma Raducanu uncovers a new blueprint for success – but one big concern remains
Emma Raducanu has been searching for a winning formula over the past year and now it seems she has found an all-new blueprint for success.
Since her remarkable 2021 US Open win, Raducanu has struggled to stay fit for long enough to test her skills at the top of the game.
The curiously eager cynics have been quick to suggest her failure is evidence that her historic success in New York 18 months ago was merely a fortunate burst of form at a time when the top names in women’s tennis were crumbling.
Yet such an argument carries little weight as winning ten matches in any tournament without dropping a set cannot be down to luck.
Raducanu’s setbacks since her US Open win are not related to the big sponsorship deals she signed or a lack of passion for the game. Those barbs have been an easy stick for her critics to beat her with.
Instead, it has been a story of a 20-year-old finding her feet on the WTA Tour and allowing her body to adjust to the demands of what is required to win consistently.
Having set her standards so high with her breakthrough tournament win, backing it up was always going to be a challenge.
Yet what we have seen from Raducanu in her first two wins at the Indian Wells Masters suggests she is starting to find solutions to her problems.
The wrist issue she is nursing remains a concern, but the tennis she produced as she came from a difficult position in the first set to beat in form Magda Linette suggested the tide is turning in her favour.
Raducanu made her name with big hitting from the back of the court and clean winners that blew her rivals away, but variety is needed to overcome the different types of opponents she will face over the course of her career.
In her 7-6 (3), 6-2 win over Linette, Raducanu varied the trajectory of her ground shots and showed great scrambling skills from the back of the court.
When she then added the ground shot winners that will always be her trademark, she served up a concoction that was too much for an opponent who reached the Australian Open semi-finals in January.
Linette’s backhand went from being her strength to her weakness as Raducanu broke it down with a mixture of power-hitting and looping groundstrokes, upsetting her rhythm and eventually overpowering the Pole.
“It was a great win again an in-form player,” declared former British No 1 Laura Robson on Amazon Prime.
“Linette was not at her best, but she looked really uncomfortable on her backside side by the end of the match.
“A lot of that had to do with the tactics Emma came out with. She mixed things up and was able to change the pace when she needed to.
“For someone who didn’t have great expectations coming into this match and didn’t even know if she would play this tournament (due to injuries), this is a huge step forward.”
After several coaching changes since she disposed of the services of John Richardson after the US Open miracle, Raducanu appears to have found a stable source of tactical encouragement in her latest coach Sebastian Sachs.
Now she needs to stay fit and build momentum as a more mature approach is emerging from the British No 1.
READ MORE: Emma Raducanu explains how setbacks motivate her and reveals she deleted some social media apps
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