Emma Raducanu says she is not putting pressure on herself ahead of Wimbledon, and will be forgetting about her results as she kicks off the grass season. Today, in Nottingham Raducanu plays her first match on home soil since last year’s championships, where she made her breakthrough run to the last-16.
Her life since has changed entirely, after winning a historic US Open title in September which catapulted her to worldwide fame. Her Wimbledon return in less than three weeks will see the intense scrutiny ramp up substantially.
Raducanu, 19, is keen on blocking out the noise and insisted her goals are centred around improving her game, not match wins.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” she said of her expectations for the Nottingham Open this week. “I love the grass, but there are so many good players in the draw. Results at this point, I have stopped thinking about any more, there is no use doing that, if you are doing the right thing then it will follow.”
Raducanu’s results since the US Open have been a mixed bag. For 2022, she has an 8-10 win-loss record, putting her 57th in the rankings race for the year. If not for her triumph in New York, that would have been good going for a rookie, and it remains impressive that she already has at least one win at each major event.
But backing up success is important in tennis when it comes to rankings. For the past year, Raducanu was entering tournaments for the first time and had no pressure on her to defend ranking points. Now, beginning her second run of the circuit, that will no longer be the case. Raducanu is currently ranked 11 in the world, with the majority of her points wrapped up in her Wimbledon and US Open performances last season.
Trying to avoid her ranking dropping off a cliff, is going to prove a mammoth challenge. That is not at the forefront of her mind though.
“I feel there are enough people who can do that job for me,” she said. “Personally I think I know what I’m doing. I’m trusting the work I’m doing. I’m still 19 and I’ve already won a Grand Slam so I can take my time and put things in place because I know my motivation isn’t any less.
“I am proud of what I have achieved over the last 12 months. I am not being so hard on myself and I am really, really enjoying my time right now and also believing in the work I am doing day in, day out. I know it will come some time, the grass season is going to be a lot of fun.”
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