Two legends of the game have forecast a difficult season for Emma Raducanu, as she looks to build on that astonishing victory at September’s US Open.
Offering predictions for 2022, the nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova suggested that Raducanu’s peers now know how she plays and where to target her, while the 1980s doubles giant Pam Shriver expressed doubt that Raducanu would finish the year in the world’s top 20.
Inexperience is the key word here. As Navratilova pointed out, in an interview published by the Women’s Tennis Association website, “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. She’s the biggest wildcard for me. Because clearly, she has the ability to play great tennis.
“Can she replicate it consistently enough?” Navratilova added. “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.”
Navratilova also questioned the decision to part so soon with Andrew Richardson, the softly spoken coach who worked with Raducanu during the US Open triumph, but was not re-engaged thereafter. In November, Raducanu signed a new coach in the shape of Germany’s Torben Beltz, who had previously spent much of his career working with 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.