Emma Raducanu says she will endeavour to continue working in exactly the same manner as before her shock US Open victory last month as she adjusts to the increased attention and her transformed status as the newest grand slam champion on the women’s tour.
The 18-year-old will make her first appearance since winning the title at Flushing Meadows at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, after being given a wildcard to compete.
“What got me to this point is not thinking anything differently,” she said. “If I just put additional thoughts in my head, then that will just create a problem. I am just going to keep going on about my business and stay the same.”
With her seeding of 17, Raducanu received a first-round bye and she awaits either the world No 71 María Camila Osorio Serrano or Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who is ranked No 100, in the second round. Raducanu faces a potential third-round match with the 11th seed, Simona Halep, should both players win their opening tie.
Indian Wells also marks Raducanu’s first tournament since opting not to continue working with Andrew Richardson, who had temporarily coached her during the US hardcourt season. She is currently being helped by Jeremy Bates, the head of women’s tennis at the LTA, and says she is confident she will handle herself well until she appoints a permanent coach. “I know that even though I’m quite young, I’ve got a lot of experience banked,” she said. “And at the end of the day you’re out there on your own and you have to be your own coach on the court.”
The enormous amount of popularity and attention Raducanu gained in New York has immediately led to appearances at events such as the Met Gala and the No Time To Die James Bond movie premiere, but she says that aside from the odd event, she has been focused on training since her time in New York.
“When I was at home I still didn’t really go out,’ she said. “I didn’t go to a restaurant or anything. I was just at home with my family, I got some really cool invitations. It felt nice to receive the support and everyone’s kind messages and kind words but, yeah, I didn’t really get too caught up in it. I just focused on my tennis and my training.”
Despite getting to experience “some great things that I probably never would have got to do before,” Raducanu says that the most special moment of the past three weeks remains the night she shared with her team in New York after winning the title.
“The highlight for me still and always will be the night that I won and afterwards after the match when we went back to the hotel and it was just me and the team, having a really nice meal and chatting and reflecting on the past three weeks,” she said. “For me that’s always going to be the highlight, even though all of the invitations were very cool I think that’s what’s going to stick in my mind.”
American teenager Coco Gauff has urged US Open champion Emma Raducanu to be wary of social media following the Briton's maiden Grand Slam triumph at Flushing Meadows last month.
Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to win a major, has since gained thousands of new followers on social media, setting up an account on Chinese microblogging site Weibo to keep in touch with fans in that country.
Gauff, who shot to fame as a 15-year-old when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019, urged the 18-year-old Raducanu to take time away from her phone.
"It is exciting when you get all the retweets, all the follows and all of that, but it can be a bit overwhelming. At least in my experience. That's probably what I wish I would've known, not to focus on social media," the world No. 19 said.
Roger Federer, a 20-times Grand Slam champion, also recently suggested that the next generation of tennis stars like Raducanu needed help to prevent abuse on social media affecting them.
"I put a time limit on my phone because I thought I was spending too much time on it. From 8:30am to 9:30pm I have limited access to apps," Gauff added.
Gauff and Raducanu will be in action this week at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which returns after two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former British number one Johanna Konta said she was amazed by Raducanu's achievement in New York and added she does not expect anything to faze her successor.
"I was watching in awe. She really took it in her stride. I can imagine Emma taking everything in her stride," Konta, who skipped Indian Wells with a groin injury, told the BBC.
"She seems like someone who is very poised and aware of why she is doing what she is doing. She's incredibly bright and I think she applies that to her tennis as well. She's an impressive young girl."
World No.100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich ended Emma Raducanu's 10-match winning streak on Friday night, defeating the reigning US Open champion 6-2, 6-4 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open. Sasnovich will face 2015 champion Simona Halep for a spot in the Round of 16 on Sunday.
Coming into the second-round duel, Raducanu was riding a 10 match winning streak from her historic title run at the US Open, where she reeled off 20 consecutive sets through qualifying and the main draw to become the first British woman to win a major since Virginia Wade in 1977. In contrast, Sasnovich, who reached a career-high No.30 in 2018, had just one Top 50 victory in a completed match this season.
Yet despite her sub-par 2021 season, the Belarusian has a proven track record of being a seed-slaying danger in the early rounds of big events. The 27-year-old had already notched 15 Top 20 wins in her career, including victories over Petra Kvitova at 2018 Wimbledon, Elina Svitolina at 2018 Brisbane, and Karolina Pliskova at 2016 Tokyo.
Raducanu started the match right where she left off in New York, coolly reeling off the first six points with clean first-strike tennis. With both players looking to play offensive tennis, Sasnovich weathered the early surge and began to find consistent depth off the baseline. The Belarusian broke first to open up a 3-1 lead and broke the Raducanu serve again for a 5-2 lead, closing the opening set after 30 minutes.
Both players tallied 8 winners apiece in the first set, but Sasnovich was far cleaner, hitting just 4 unforced errors compared to Raducanu's 12. She was also the more opportunistic, converting both her break point chances while never giving the Brit a look to break her serve once.
Sasnovich broke after a prolonged opening game of the second set, breaking through on her fourth break point of the game to gain the immediate advantage. But Raducanu dug in and refused to let Sasnovich run away with the match. The Brit earned her first break point of the match in the very next game and broke immediately to level at 1-1.
Raducanu continued to pressure the Sasnovich serve from there. Sasnovich was able to save three break points to hold to 2-2, but Raducanu broke again, this time from 0-40, to lead 4-2.
Emma Raducanu lost her first match since winning the US Open to Sasnovich rather easily 2-6 4-6 and after the match, the tennis superstar spoke about the experience.
It was not what many hoped to be as Emma Raducanu lost her Indian Wells opener to Sasnovich rather easily. The British tennis player had many eyes on her ever since touching down in the desert but her first match since winning the US Open was not good. She lost the first 2-6 in 30 minutes and while leading 4-2 in the 2nd she dropped 4 straight to crash out.
After the match she said:
"Playing at night is always going to be different. I haven't had much experience with night matches. I've only played one before on Ashe. I'm still very, very new to the tour. I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things. I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I'll just have more experienced banked."