What happened to the British tennis player Emma Raducanu after winning the 2021 US Open?
Though her first round exit in the 2022 US Open will not have pleased her, the future is still bright for the young and talented Briton.
Since she shocked world by taking the 2021 US Open title as a qualifier, it hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for the young British player. What’s happened and where does she go from here? Let’s find out.
Emma Raducanu has dipped but she’s got time
It’s easy to forget that Emma Raducanu is still a teenager and playing in her first full season on tennis’ WTA Tour. Indeed, following her sensational victory over Leylah Fernandez some twelve months ago, many were given to thinking that things would only get better and better for the young Briton. Unfortunately, that has not been the case which in turn has only made the critique and surprise about her downfall all the more intense. Needless to say, her recent exit in the first round of this year’s US Open - ending her title defense - didn’t help. Yet, it would be a mistake to write Raducanu off. At just 19-years-old, she’s still got a long way to go.
What’s happened to Emma Raducanu?
In the time following her victory in the final of the 2021 US Open, Raducanu has made it as far as the quarter-finals on just three occasions, begging questions as to how her form could have dropped so low. The answer is simple really and is the result of two things: coaching changes and injuries. Let’s take a look:
Constant coaching changes meant no stability
Though you would think that everything would be rosy following her title win in New York, the truth is the waters got very murky for Raducanu after that point. On the very same day as her ‘Homecoming Party,’ the tennis world learned that she and coach Andrew Richardson would be parting company. Richardson had previously worked with Raducanu when she was a junior but for undisclosed reasons did not see his contract renewed. Then there was Nigel Sears, who took Raducanu to the fourth round at Wimbledon, but would also be let go before German coach Torben Beltz was brought on board in November of last year. Their partnership would only last five months.
To that end, Raducanu has recently been supported by LTA’s technical team, but has yet to hire a coach on a permanent basis. She has also been training under former ATP Tour pro Dmitry Tursunov - the man who was instrumental in Anett Kontaveit’s march to No. 2 in the world. It is understood that the Russian is on a trial basis with Raducanu, however, there has been no indication that a long-term deal is in place.
Injuries derailed Emma Raducanu’s season
In addition to the coaching inconsistencies, Raducanu has unfortunately also had to deal with a number of injuries. Though none were severe in nature, they were most certainly enough to disrupt her rhythm. From a bout of covid-19 back in November which understandably resulted in a slow start to 2022, to a racquet hand blister which contributed to her second-round Australian Open exit. Then there was hip/leg issue which she suffered in the Guadalajara Open in February mostly minor but troubling enough to have disrupted her season.
The list doesn’t stop there either. Fans will recall her first appearance at Indian Wells, where she departed in the third round following troubles with a stiff back. On she went to the Billie Jean King Cup where her debut for Great Britain against the Czech Republic was affected by foot blisters. Then, it was back to her back issue as she was clearly not herself in the Madrid Open - exiting in the third round – before retiring in her opening match at the Italian Open. Indeed, Raducanu would state after her second-round French Open exit that “the biggest win” was staying injury-free in Paris. Sadly, just two weeks later she would be forced to retire for the third time this season after a side injury brought an end to her effort in Nottingham.
What now for Emma Raducanu?
If one thing is clear, it’s that Emma Raducanu is an exceptionally talented tennis player. The doubt, however, is whether she can maintain fitness long enough to show us just how much so. Most recently, she struggled with a wrist issue just last week in preparation for the US Open, leading many to wonder if she could in fact overcome her injury problems. At the time she downplayed it by saying it was just “one of those weird days.” Can she get back on track? If nothing else, it’s worth noting that despite her US Open exit, she entered the tournament as the No. 11 in the world, which is way better than how she entered it a year ago when she was ranked 343rd. That’s to say, if Emma Raducanu can sort out her coaching situation and stay healthy, it’s quite likely she will be back amongst the best soon enough.