Emma Raducanu - Australian Open 2023

Emma Raducanu ‘can challenge again’ as former No.1 makes U-turn

Emma Raducanu has been subject to many critics, after a difficult year, including seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe. However, he has made somewhat of a U-turn suggesting that the Brit can compete for more majors in the future.

“I think the last year has been overwhelming, obviously,” said McEnroe. “She has gone through a lot of changes in her life and now she has had issues with injuries.”

Raducanu was hampered with a variety of different injuries in 2022, causing her to retire from four matches.

Fitness is something that the British No.1 said was her priority over the off-season, however she suffered a ‘freak’ injury after rolling her ankle in Auckland, leaving her Australian Open hopes in doubt.

The 2021 US Open champion did manage to declare fit in time for the first major of the year, before losing to No.7 seed Coco Gauff in the second round.

“It felt like for the first time the pressure was not on her [Raducanu] and was on Coco Gauff when they played at the Australian Open and that is not a bad thing,” said former No.1 McEnroe.

“Everyone in the tennis world is hopeful that she can embrace what’s happening with her and hope that she gets back to the level she showed at the US Open,”

McEnroe had previously questioned whether Emma Raducanu could ‘handle’ the pressure after retiring in the fourth round of her first Grand Slam tournament.

“I saw her at Wimbledon that summer and when she didn’t come out to play in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, we were all worried she might struggle to cope with the change to her life. Then she went to New York and wow, what a performance to win a Slam.”

Despite his previous doubts, the former Wimbledon and US Open champion believes that Raducanu will start to find better results again if she is enjoying her tennis.

“We just all want to see her compete and enjoy the challenge in front of her and if she does that, I’m sure she can have a great year. That’s what we all want to see. Ultimately, tennis is a competition and you have to find a way to deal with that. I wish Emma all the best.”

McEnroe continued, “Let’s put this on the record. You don’t win a Grand Slam by luck. She is a great player and can come back and challenge again.”

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.