Former player and tennis analyst Pam Shriver believes it will be difficult for Emma Raducanu to stay in the top league in 2022.
The British teenager made a sensational breakthrough at the 2021 US Open, as she became the first qualifier, male or female, to win a Grand Slam.
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“The only thing that has remained the same is her name, the sport she plays and her agent,” Shriver told the official WTA website.
“I feel like everything else around her has changed, and when you’re a teenager you’re already going through a lot of changes. I’d be surprised if she’s still in the Top 20 at the end of the year.”
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By winning the US Open, Raducanu became a star overnight, literally. She signed a glut of endorsement and marketing deals. But professional tennis is still a fairly new world for Raducanu.
The US Open was only her second Grand Slam main draw appearance. She defeated Leylah Fernadez in the final in New York to win her first title.
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She is currently ranked at No 19, the highest she has been on the WTA charts.
“I think 2022 is going to continue to be a challenge for her,” added Shriver, a double legend who has won more than 20 Grand Slam titles.
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“I think it’s going to be 2023 when we have a clearer idea of what her consistency level is going to be.
“I might be wrong, but it was such a sudden, unnatural step from qualifying to winning a major – never been done before – followed up by all these new business partnerships, recognition and coaching changes.”
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The 19-year-old also split with her coach Andrew Richardson, who guided her to the US Open win.
“To me, that she let go of the coach that got her to the US Open was unfathomable. I really don’t get that,” Martina Navratilova told wtatennis.com.
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“It’s going to be hard for her this year. Players have seen her, they know what to do against her. But most of all, she just needs matches.”
Since winning the US Open, Raducanu has competed in only three events and won two matches.
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“She’s the biggest wildcard for me. Because clearly, she has the ability to play great tennis. Can she replicate it consistently enough?
“Eight WTA-level tournaments in her life? That’s half a season. I’d go into Wimbledon with 10, 12 matches under my belt.
“It’s going to be so much to handle physically, playing more matches, but everybody’s going to be gunning for her – that’s the thing that’s going to look good on their resume.
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“And the pressure’s going to be on her emotionally, as well. Being a Brit, she’s under a huge microscope, and it’s hard to get away from it. We’ll see.”
Raducanu has pulled out from the Melbourne Summer Set but it scheduled to play the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.