US Open Champion Emma Raducano tries to get her magic back

Suspension

It closes at midnight, roughly an hour and a half after her opening game ended, when Emma Raducano arrived for her post-game interview at the Citi Open in Washington.

She explained that the delay was due to her needing to see the athletic trainer, where she had two blisters and then showered “to look good to you guys!”

Much is expected of US Open Champion The 19-year-old is the 10th highest-ranked tennis player in the world and Britain’s highest-ranked tennis player, with the champion media chronicling her every move.

Raducanu is also a global ambassador for Tiffany & Co. , representing the shiny diamond jewelry she wears at the press conference; Dior. and Porsche, among other high-end companies. Needless to say, it wouldn’t be the case if the public face of these luxury brands appeared to interviewers drenched in sweat with shiny hair on her head.

But Raducanu is also a smart bookworm, who graduated just over a year ago from a British boarding school and has been sitting A-level exams in English and Maths. She is a teenager, in many respects, like other teenagers, albeit with an intense inner drive.

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This reminder comes shortly after she used the word “wizard” in describing her performance, as in, “I didn’t necessarily play like a wizard today, but I went through it and fought back, and that’s all that matters.”

This led to a follow-up question about Harry Potter. Specifically, which Hogwarts house would you be in?

Raducanu lights up, as if suddenly plugged into a socket of delight.

“I’ll be in Slytherin, for sure!” I was thrilled, just so happy with the detail. “They don’t have a great actor, but I think they’re really cool… They’re beautiful, in a way, brutal… They have a mystical side to them, and I love that.”

Although she was fleeting, she seemed to be a welcome line of questioning amid what was a tough uphill run in her first full season on the Pro Tour.

Raducano’s 6-4 6-2 victory on Tuesday over qualifier Luisa Chirico was her first singles match since June 29 when she lost in the second round at Wimbledon. It was also the ninth game to win all season, raising her record in 2022 to 10-12 after injuries and another training change.

At the Citi Open, where she is competing for the first time, Raducanu is working on a trial basis with former pro Dmitriy Tursunov, who reached number 20 in the world in 2006 and had success after retirement as a coach, to help Aryna Sabalenka and Anett Kontaveit into the top 10.

Native to Russia for training in America at the age of 12, Tursunov, 39, succeeds Turbine Peltz, whom Radokano split from in April after a five-month collaboration. Peltz, who previously coached fellow German Angelique Kerber for the 2016 Australian and US Open titles, was brought in to replace Raducano’s youth coach, Andrew Richardson, who led her to an unprecedented feat by winning the US Open to qualify, without conceding a net. Collection.

While the alliance with Tursunov is, for now, an experiment, Radokano said she feels it has already helped after two weeks of training ahead of the Citi Open, which marked the start of the North American hard-court swing leading to the US Open. .

“He’s definitely trying to make things easier for myself,” said Radocano. “I focus a lot on everything I do, and I want to do it to the best of my ability all the time. He’s slowly trying to shift me towards, ‘If it’s not perfect, it’s OK.’ Like, ‘If I hit one, it’s OK’.” Just those kinds of things and being more receptive to that.”

For a student with an A, less than perfection can be among life’s most difficult lessons.

That’s the lesson Raducanu’s Pro Tour is now teaching.

“I’ve learned that I’m very resilient,” Raducanu said, reflecting on her results this season. “I’ve been defeated pretty much every week – literally in front of everyone. Get a backup every time.

In the 11 WTA tournaments she’s entered this year, she’s only gone out of the second round twice — on clay in Stuttgart, Germany, where she fell in the quarter-finals to world number 1 Iga Swiatek, and in Madrid, where she fell in the third round. All three major tournaments since winning the US Open – Australia, France and Wimbledon this year – have ended in second-round defeats.

In the experience of Pam Shriver and Renae Stubbs, who have won 22 and six Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles, respectively, Raducanu’s experiences are understandable and nothing to worry about.

“If we could remove those magical three weeks from her resume and look at the rest of her development, that would be completely normal,” Shriver said in a phone interview. “She’s one of the best candidates to have had a magical tour. That doesn’t mean she’s going to be one Slam and she did. What’s more, she’s now back on a somewhat normal trajectory. And I think after the US Open, it’s going to be more natural.”

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Shriver, 60, has forged her Hall of Fame career in doubles. But at 16, she reached the US Open final and became an overnight sensation.

“Of course I lost to Chrissy [Evert]Shriver said. But it was a very high-level situation. Then I went for the next 12 months and hardly won any match. A year later, I started resetting and rebuilding and getting myself into the top ten for the next eight years. But based on the year after the 1978 US Open, it was horrible.”

Stubbs noted that no one in tennis expects “great week-to-week moments” from 19-year-olds, no matter how talented they are.

“The bottom line is that every week she learns about the Tour and how to wrestle against players of the same level,” Stubbs said. “Obviously winning the US Open last year was a great moment. It was a fairy tale that we weren’t expecting.

“…it is all now a learning experience – not only dealing with the stress of professional tennis taking it week after week, but also doing it with the glare of the world shining on it. It’s hard to do without being famous. And now she is famous.”

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