Raducanu US Open 2022

Emma Raducanu urged to ‘find her identity’ after US Open defence falls in first round

Mats Wilander has urged Emma Raducanu to focus on her game’s identity after her US Open title reign came to a disappointing end.

Raducanu stunned the tennis world by winning the US Open last year as a qualifier, although she has struggled to maintain that level since.

She was handed a tough opening round draw against Elize Cornet, and the Frenchwomen proved to have far too much experience for the young Brit as she carved out an impressive 6-3, 6-3 win.

The defeat will see Raducanu drop outside of the world top 80 in the WTA rankings, so it will is a very costly one.

However, former world number one Mats Wilander believes there is a great opportunity at hand for her too.

“I don’t see much of a difference from Emma this year compared to last year, except she was just confident and other players were scared to play her,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“It’s obviously a surprise that the defending champion goes out but at the same time, she’s been on tour for a year and two months. It’s not a worry to me at all. In fact, I think this is a very, very important step in her career that this defending this title is over and she can now focus on her tennis, and trying to get up get my ranking up in a normal way than just rise completely to the top.

“Emma Raducanu is good but she’s not great. She had a lot of confidence last year, and she is a fighter, and she plays well. The only thing I don’t know is, I feel like she hasn’t quite found her identity as a player.

“Is she a bit of a risk taker? Does she play really aggressively? Or does she use her movement skills, and dial back a little bit and play with a little bit of variation? Maybe a little bit more like Simona Halep used to play?

“I haven’t quite seen her path – what is she going to actually end up playing like? Because she’s good at everything, doesn’t quite have the killer shot,” he explained.

“Let’s work and figure out what it is that makes her happy in terms of how she plays. And then – this is how she’s going to end up playing. Of course, we’re always going to try and make improvements, but I think that’s the one part where I’m a little confused.

“But again, she’s so young, and she hasn’t really been given a proper chance to live a normal life. It’s just nuts what happened to her.

“Right now, she’s sort of in between aggressive and not being really aggressive. Obviously, the way she played last year is the way she needs to play but that was also a player that had so much confidence and freedom and no pressure that we most probably will never see the likes of again.

“I’m very excited to see her continue and push forwards because I do think that she seems like a great person. She has a great attitude.

“She’s obviously the biggest thing that happened in British sports in a long, long, long time for the women’s side and on the men’s side, too. And how do you deal with that? Well, it’s now back to reality, which I think couldn’t have come soon enough to be honest.”

Emma Raducanu was the first ever qualifier to win a major when she claimed the 2021 US Open title.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.