Wimbledon 2024: Aim: to rescue a failed cause, that of Emma Raducanu | Tennis | Sports

Wimbledon 2024: Aim: to rescue a failed cause, that of Emma Raducanu | Tennis | Sports
Wimbledon 2024: Aim: to rescue a failed cause, that of Emma Raducanu | Tennis | Sports

With the Scottish Andy Murray about to leave, the veteran now without a rope, the United Kingdom is engaged in a question of faith, of conviction, of correcting the collective error. A national issue, practically, since sport has long since become much more than sport, to act as one of the main ambassadors of a country. So, will Emma Raducanu return? Will she recover the hinted course? Logic suggests that she will, because after all she is only 21 years old and has more than enough time to turn the situation around; but this is very delicate, by the way. The thunderous explosion three years ago in New York – she won the US Open at just 18, without losing a set in 10 matches and coming from the qualifying phase, an unprecedented feat – had a very high price that the young tennis player is still paying today, who now renews her spirits and smiles, but who until recently was crying. And a lot.

“Sometimes I think I wish I hadn’t won that tournament,” she has said, consumed by a success that was somewhat counterproductive, because it gave her fame and million-dollar contracts, but at the same time very damaging. It all happened too fast and the management was too erratic: the headlines, the praise and the abundant zeros in the bank account. producttoo attractive for commercial firms, agents and media, before the tennis player. So the fall was resounding. “When I was a child, my father forced me to play this sport, but I didn’t like it; then, as I got older, it started to be a priority in my life and I began to put a lot of pressure on myself,” she admits. Then came the New York hit, and then a steep downhill slope that began psychologically and then led to the physical.

Operations on both wrists, and one ankle. Very poor results and too many frustrated expectations. The price of overexposure. A marketing bonanza first – an Englishwoman born in Toronto, to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother – and a deep disappointment later, when she was required to win and early falls were the norm. Raducanu, a bluff, the British lamented. And one coach after another on the bench, five in two seasons. “I’m not a diva, I just do things my way,” she replies to the newspaper. The Timeswho is now wondering if she will be able to get back on track and straighten out a career that has been more about advertising than sport; but she now warns that she wants to make a U-turn: tennis first, and then the rest.

She played five tournaments last year, enough to reach 15 million dollars in sponsorships (13.8 euros) and rank as the fourth athlete (woman) who earns the most from this concept. Now, however, she – cited this Sunday with Lulu Sun in the round of 16 of the London Grand Slam – focuses on daily work and the court, and confirms that the strategy has changed: health and fitness, and from there, whatever has to come. Before, operating rooms and many months in the reserve. Three surgeries in ten days. A failed project. “In some way, I feel reborn, fresher and happier; it’s good not to have to wear three casts on my body…”, she said in December, once she had already turned the wheel to head towards the desired place; that is, regular competition and, why not, more triumphs like the one achieved at the US Open in 2021.

Raducanu, after undergoing ankle surgery in July 2023.

She has not made it past the second round of a Grand Slam since then, but she is confident. “I know it will take me some time to reach my peak, but I am also clear that I am too good not to achieve it if I work consistently. I have come out mentally stronger from everything that has happened to me,” she says. “It is not that Emma has done everything backwards, what she did was skip every step of the way. She won the US Open at 18 and when she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the players’ room or the training courts were,” reasons her agent, Max Eisenbud, optimistic: “I can assure you that she is a very hard-working player, I am sure she will win more majors.”

The player, in any case, says she has learned from the process and prefers to take it step by step. From position 135, she tries to enjoy the journey, and not just aim for the destination. “Right now, feeling good is my biggest victory,” she says. “And a light has been rekindled inside me. I love tennis and this lifestyle; I am very grateful to feel this feeling again, it was something I felt I had lost. I was trying to figure out why all this happened, but now I love what I am doing,” she warned before landing at Wimbledon, where she shines today and represents the great hope for the British. Invited by the organization — she did not have access to the draw because of the lack of access to the tournament — she was not able to play in the tournament. ranking—, has already left behind Alexandrova, Zarazua, Mertens and Sakkari.

From a different perspective, stone by stone, Raducanu is trying to get back on his feet and is illustrating on his social networks: from July to July, from plaster casts to the final triumph. Has he learned anything? Time will tell.


A. C. | Londres

Today, Raducanu will parade after Alcaraz-Umbert (14.30, Movistar+) on the centre court, a court that the number one, Iga Swiatek, will not step on again this year, after being beaten yesterday by Yulia Putintseva (3-6, 6-1 and 6-2). The grass is still resisting her, then. Also defeated was the Spaniard Jessica Bouzas, who had to retire when she was losing to the Czech Barbora Krejcikova (6-0 and 4-3) due to lower back problems.

Roberto Bautista, on the other hand, sealed what he had begun the day before, interrupted by rain. The Castellón native beat Fabio Fognini (7-6(6), 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(1) and 6-4, after 4h 26m) and will face the American Tommy Paul without a break. Before that, Paula Badosa will open the round on court 2 (11.00) against Donna Vekic.

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