艾瑪-拉杜卡努在溫布爾登:將有 "巨大的期望",但 "讓我們給她時間

3個月前
艾瑪-拉杜卡努在溫布爾登:將有 "巨大的期望",但 "讓我們給她時間

艾瑪-拉杜卡努在美國公開賽奪冠後的第一個溫布爾登,不太可能是收斂期望值的地方。

她與傷病作鬥爭的事實,以及尚未確定教練的事實,都無助於降低興奮度--因為這不是在你的主場大滿貫賽中的工作方式。

"在溫布爾登,一切都圍繞着你這個英國球員。有多少報紙、在線網站、多少記者在那裡,"前英國頭號選手格雷格-魯塞德斯基告訴BBC體育。

"我們變得非常以英國為中心,特別是如果有一個我們認為可以贏得冠軍或有機會贏得冠軍的人。

"對於艾瑪和她所取得的成就,人們有很大的期望。"

那麼,她將如何處理,我們所有人--球迷、媒體和她的對手--是否期望過高?

  • 沒有 體育台。拉杜卡努能否擺脫美國公開賽的宿醉?

一年前,一位十幾歲的英國選手在18號球場以最小的代價完成了她的溫布爾登正賽首秀。

這位外卡選手在4-1落後的情況下拿下第一盤,並在第二盤以6-0的比分反敗為勝,引起了人們的注意,但當時媒體和公眾有更大的名字需要關注,因此沒有考慮太多。

在第二輪比賽結束時,這位18歲的選手是單打比賽中唯一的英國女子--在第三輪比賽結束時,她是唯一的英國人。

於是聚光燈牢牢地轉向了艾瑪-拉杜卡努,當她進入第四輪時,"從A級學生到網球明星 "的故事吸引了人們的想象和頭條。

她在與阿吉拉-湯姆利亞諾維奇(Ajla Tomljanovic)的16強比賽中因呼吸困難而退賽,後來她說,旋風般的一周的 "整個經歷 "讓她 "陷入了困境"。

僅僅兩個月後,她在美國公開賽上取得了令人難以置信的神奇勝利,隨之而來的是她如何處理重大場合的壓力的答案。

但那是一個沒有預期的事件。那時她是一個資格賽選手,但現在她是一個前十名的種子選手。

魯塞德斯基敦促所有在溫布爾登觀看她的人保持耐心:"讓我們給她時間。這次將是最難的一次"。

她的體能如何?

自從她在美國公開賽上取得勝利以來,拉杜卡努已經有三次在比賽中退賽,因為一系列的小毛病阻礙了她在WTA巡迴賽上的第一個完整年度。

她在1月的澳網第二輪比賽中因球拍上的水泡而掙扎,2月在墨西哥的首輪比賽中因腿部受傷而退賽,4月在比利-金杯的比賽中,她正在用手術的精神沐浴自己起泡的雙腳,5月在馬德里出現了背部問題。

去年年底,她還出現了科維德,而在諾丁漢的首場比賽中,她的側面拉傷迫使她在七場比賽中退賽,因此她在溫布爾登的備戰情況並不理想。隨後,她因為這個問題退出了伯明翰的比賽,也沒有參加伊斯特本的比賽。

她此前曾表示,她的身體問題令人沮喪,她正在竭盡全力克服這些問題。

很有可能的是,如果她的知名度沒有因為美國公開賽的成功而急劇上升,她的身體變得更強壯以應對巡迴賽生活的嚴酷性的自然過程就不會引起那麼多的關注。

三屆大滿貫冠軍安迪-穆雷的母親朱迪本月早些時候指出,她的兒子在從青少年組升入主要巡迴賽時有 "一些反覆出現的身體問題"。

在《每日電訊報》的一篇文章中,她寫道:"特別是,他遭受了很多抽筋。他的身體完全可以滿足巡迴賽低級別的要求,但不一定能適應巡迴賽中更重的擊球、更長、更嚴格的比賽和更強大的對手。

"越來越清楚的是,拉杜卡努的身體需要時間來成熟"。

她的排名是她的狀態的真實反映嗎?

如果你去掉她在美國公開賽上贏得的2000個排名點,她的世界排名將是60多,而不是11。

顯然,她贏得了這些積分--而且是以出色的方式--但這些積分將她提升到了一個可以被視為高於她的其他成績所表明的 "自然 "排名的位置。

自從在紐約取得勝利以來,她還沒有連續贏過三場比賽,而且從那時起她的兩場大滿貫比賽--澳網和法網--都在第二輪結束。

隨着排名的提高,不僅是公眾的期望,也有其他球員的期望。

"當你是一個可能有目標的人時,這是不一樣的,"進入去年溫網時排名338的拉杜卡努在今年早些時候說。

"每個人都提高了他們的遊戲水平,想打好球,想打敗你,把你幹掉。這是我今年在巡迴賽上絕對有點學到的東西,只是接受了這一點。"

場外活動占用了太多的時間嗎?

拉杜卡努的經紀人馬克斯-艾森布德不認為她被商業需求壓得太重。他告訴BBC的Sports Desk播客,IMG通過限制她每年最多只能有18個贊助日,"把一百萬美元留在了桌子上"。

拉脫維亞人耶萊娜-奧斯塔彭科(Jelena Ostapenko)在19歲時贏得了2017年法國網球公開賽,她可以理解拉杜卡努和她仍然處於旋風之中,因為她登上了雜誌的封面,被邀請參加華麗的活動,並在她的Instagram頁面上充滿了對與她有贊助協議的九個大品牌的宣傳。

隨着大滿貫冠軍的到來,場外的機會也隨之而來--有些是有利可圖的,有些是迷人的,但都很耗時。

"25歲的奧斯塔彭科告訴BBC體育,"好的方面是每個人都知道你在家鄉,每個人都把你當作偶像。

"但艱難的事情就是要習慣所有這些壓力,你周圍的事情都在變化,每個人都想接受採訪,拍照,所有這些事情,但你仍然需要在同一時間進行練習。

"所以要適應它真的很難,而且每個人都期望你贏得每場比賽。

"我需要一些時間來適應它。我想我還沒有準備好在那麼早的時候贏得大滿貫,因為這是每個網球運動員的夢想,當你在19歲的時候實現它,你可能也會失去一點動力。"

1979年16歲時贏得美國公開賽的特蕾西-奧斯汀說,她感覺自己被所有的新要求 "拉扯"。

"我的世界顛覆了,因為兩天後我就出現在美國的每一個早間節目中,我被扔到了合同上,"這位美國人告訴體育台記者。

"我仍然是一個青少年,每個人都試圖消耗我一天的每一部分,而我只想做一個孩子,我只想打網球。"

拉杜卡努去年說,她永遠不會因為任何場外承諾而取消訓練或練習,但她可能仍然會發現她被問及她的時間是否被擠壓得太多了。

她沒有教練有什麼關係嗎?

在過去的一年裡,拉杜卡努一直無法確定一個教練。

Nigel Sears在去年溫網後被Andrew Richardson取代,但儘管拉杜卡努在紐約取得了成功,Richardson的合同卻沒有續簽。

Torben Beltz在11月被任命,但他們在4月分道揚鑣。從那時起,LTA的女子教練主管Iain Bates一直在與拉杜卡努合作。

兩屆美國公開賽冠軍奧斯汀建議,當拉杜卡努試圖駕馭她的形象和排名的突然上升時,可能會對她有好處,可以再堅持一段時間。

"她說:"你要面對的事情太多了。

"你需要一個非常好的團隊在你身邊,包括你的家人做出合理的決定。這真的很重要嗎?這對我有幫助嗎?這可能會破壞我的事業嗎?

"我認為對艾瑪來說,找到一個她非常舒服的人,和他們呆上一段時間,這樣你就可以列出一個清單。我們需要在哪些方面下功夫?哪裡有不足之處?長處在哪裡?我需要提高他們兩個人的水平,只是要親自獲得這種舒適度。"

她還能再贏得大滿貫嗎?

當然,沒有人可能知道這個答案。

塞雷娜-威廉姆斯的前教練帕特里克-穆拉托格魯(Patrick Mouratoglou)是預測她能贏得更多主要獎盃的人之一,但前英國頭號球星約翰-勞埃德(John Lloyd)上周在女王球場對其進行評論時可能說得最多。

"我不認為她會是一個單項賽的奇蹟--如果她是,那又怎樣?那也是很特別的"。

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Emma Raducanu's first Wimbledon since her US Open win is unlikely to be the place to temper expectations.

The fact she has had struggles with injuries and has not settled on a coach will do nothing to tone down excitement levels - because that is not how it works at your home Grand Slam.

"Everything is about you as a British player at Wimbledon. How many newspapers, online sites, how many journalists are there," former British number one Greg Rusedski told BBC Sport.

"We get very British-centric especially if there is someone who we think can win the title or has a chance to win the title.

"With Emma and what she has achieved, there is a huge expectation."

So, how will she handle it and are we all - fans, media and her opponents - expecting too much? • None Sports Desk: Can Raducanu shake off her US Open hangover?

A year ago a teenage British number 10 made her Wimbledon main-draw debut with minimum fuss on Court 18.

The wildcard's fightback from 4-1 down to take the first set followed by a 6-0 second set was noted, but back then the media and public had bigger names to follow to give it too much thought.

By the end of the second round, this 18-year-old was the sole British woman left in the singles draw - by the end of the third, the only Briton full stop.

And so the spotlight turned firmly on Emma Raducanu and the story of 'A-level student to tennis star' captured imaginations and headlines as she reached the fourth round.

Her run ended when she retired from her last-16 match against Ajla Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties, later saying that the "whole experience" of the whirlwind week had "caught up" her.

Just two months later came that implausible and magical US Open triumph, and with it the answer to how she handles the pressure of the big occasion.

But that was an event without expectation. She was a qualifier back then, but now she's a top-10 seed.

Rusedski urged patience from all watching her at Wimbledon: "Let's give her time. This time is going to be the hardest."

How is her fitness?

Since her US Open triumph, Raducanu has had three mid-match retirements as a series of niggles have hampered her during what is her first full year on the WTA tour.

She struggled with a blister on her racquet hand in her Australian Open second-round defeat in January, retired with a leg injury in an opening-round match in Mexico in February, was bathing her blistered feet in surgical spirit at a Billie Jean King Cup tie in April and had a back issue in Madrid in May.

She also had Covid towards the end of last year, while her Wimbledon build-up has been less than ideal after a side strain forced her to retire just seven games into her opening match in Nottingham. She then withdrew from Birmingham because of the issue and did not play at Eastbourne.

She has previously said her physical issues were frustrating and that she was doing everything she could to overcome them.

It is very possible that had her profile not rocketed because of the US Open success, the natural process of her body becoming more robust to cope with the rigours of tour life would not have attracted as much attention.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray's mother Judy pointed out earlier this month that her son had "a number of recurring physical problems" when moving up from the juniors to the main tour.

In a piece in The Daily Telegraph, she wrote: "In particular, he suffered from a lot of cramping. His body was perfectly ready for the demands of the lower rungs of the circuit but not necessarily for the heavier hitting, the longer, more rigorous rallies and stronger opponents he came up against on the Tour.

"What's becoming increasingly clear is that Raducanu's body needs time to mature."

Is her ranking a real reflection of her form?

If you took off the 2,000 rankings point she won at the US Open, her ranking would be 60-something in the world rather than 11.

Clearly she won those points - and in brilliant fashion - but they have elevated her to a position that could be seen as higher than what the rest of her results would suggest is her 'natural' ranking.

She has not won three matches in a row since her New York triumph and her two Grand Slam tournaments since then - the Australian and French Opens - have ended in the second round.

With the ranking, comes not just the expectation from the public but also from the other players.

"It's different when you are someone who may have a target on their back," Raducanu, who was ranked 338 going into last year's Wimbledon, said earlier this year.

"Everyone raises their game, wants to play well, wants to beat you, take you out. That's something I have definitely kind of learned on the tour this year and just accepted that."

Are off-court activities taking up too much time?

Raducanu's agent, Max Eisenbud, doesn't think she is being overburdened by commercial demands. He told the BBC's Sports Desk podcast that IMG had "left million of dollars off the table" by limiting her to a maximum of 18 sponsor days a year.

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open as a 19-year-old, can relate to Raducanu and the whirlwind that she is still in as she features on magazine front covers, is invited to glitzy events and fills her Instagram page with plugs for the nine big brands with which she has got sponsorship deals.

With a Grand Slam title comes the off-court opportunities - some lucrative, some glamourous, all time-consuming.

"The good thing is everyone knows you back home and everyone is looking at you as an idol," Ostapenko, 25, told BBC Sport.

"But the tough thing was just to get used to all this pressure, things change around you, everyone wants interviews, photo shoots all these things but you still need to practise at the same time.

"So it was really hard to get used to it and also everybody expecting you to win every tournament.

"I needed some time to get used to it. I think I was not ready to win a Grand Slam at that early age because it's a dream of every tennis player and when you achieve it at the age of 19 you maybe also lose a little bit of motivation."

Tracy Austin, who won the US Open as a 16-year-old in 1979, said she felt like she was "being pulled" by all the new demands.

"My world went upside down because two days later I was on every morning show in the United States, I was getting contracts thrown at me," the American told the Sports Desk.

"I was still a teenager and everybody was trying to consume every part of my day, and I just wanted to be a kid and I just wanted to play tennis."

Raducanu said last year that she would never cancel a training or practice session for any off-court commitments, but she may still find she gets asked if her time is being squeezed too much.

Does it matter that she hasn't got a coach?

Raducanu has been unable to settle on a coach over the past year.

Nigel Sears was replaced by Andrew Richardson after last year's Wimbledon, but Richardson's contract was not renewed despite Raducanu's success in New York.

Torben Beltz was appointed in November but they parted ways in April. The LTA's head of women's coaching Iain Bates has been working with Raducanu since then.

Two-time US Open champion Austin suggested it might be good for Raducanu to possibly stick with one for a bit longer while she tries to navigate the sudden rise in her profile and ranking.

"There is so much you have to contend with," she said.

"You need a really good team around you that includes your family making sound decisions. Is this really important? Is this going to help me? Is this going to possibly derail my career?

"I think it would be beneficial for Emma to find someone that she is very comfortable with and stay with them for a bit of time so that you can make a list. What do we need to work on? Where are the deficiencies? Where are the strengths? I need to improve both of them and just get that comfort level personally."

Will she ever win another Grand Slam?

Of course no-one can possibly know the answer to that.

Serena Williams' former coach Patrick Mouratoglou is among those to predict she can win a lot more major trophies but former British number one John Lloyd may have put it best during his BBC commentary at Queen's last week:

"I don't think she will be a one-Slam wonder - and if she is, so what? That's pretty special too." • None Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone • None What's the controversy surrounding the new tournament?

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