Reaching Australian Open third round would be a success for Emma Raducanu, says seven-time Slam ace
Justine Henin believes reaching the third round of the Australian Open would be a success for Emma Raducanu and thinks “she still needs to develop, which takes work.”
19-year-old British sensation Raducanu started 2022 poorly after a heavy defeat to Elena Rybakina at the Sydney International. This was then compounded by a tough opening draw against 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens at the upcoming Australian Open.
What was most impressive about Raducanu’s Flushing Meadows victory was that she overcame some of the world’s best in World number five Maria Sakkari and Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic without dropping a single set at just 18 years old.
However, Raducanu has since struggled for form on the WTA tour following her historic win. She exited the Indian Wells Masters in the first round and the Upper Austria Ladies Linz in the round of 16. Although, she did reach the quarter-finals of the Transylvanian Open.
Despite her poor form, Raducanu’s maiden Slam title saw her sweep multiple prestigious end-of-season awards. These included the WTA Newcomer of the Year, BT Sport Action Woman of the Year and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Speaking to Reuters, 2004 Australian Open victor Henin said “if she was to win two matches at the Australian Open [reaching the third round] it would be very good for her.
“If she gets too caught up in the expectations of the people then it will be a very difficult time for a long time so she needs the right people around her.
“It is more complicated for her … this happened very quickly for Emma. But I was very impressed how she played at the US Open. It was fresh. We needed that, a charismatic girl playing good tennis and dealing with the situation.
“It was unbelievable and it gave me a lot of emotions. But she couldn’t think she would have to live that at such an early stage at her career.
“To win a Grand Slam you usually have to pass some stages and she still has to pass them,” Henin revealed.
“What’s important is that she and her entourage keeps her feet on the ground. She still needs to develop and development takes hard work and that’s where she has to go right now.
“Winning the US Open was best and the worst that could have happened to her I would say.”
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