Emma Raducanu US Open 2021

Emma Raducanu US Open win has been a ‘handicap,’ says Grand Slam legend

Martina Navratilova says Emma Raducanu winning the 2021 US Open was in no way a ‘fluke’ – but it has become a ‘handicap’ to her.

Raducanu stunned all of the tennis and the whole world when she became the only qualifier to ever win a major, and doing it without dropping a single set as well.

That happened when she was a genuine unknown in tennis, but it immediately propelled her to a level of global superstardom for which she was in no way prepared.

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In the time since, her promising career has descended into a maelstrom of injuries, public appearances, a revolving door of coaches and huge commercial deals that have taken her focus away from tennis.

And, according to Navratilova, it is the sudden increase in expectation from winning the US Open that has crushed her progress, not a lack of talent.

“It was amazing when she won but it’s become a handicap because the expectations have gone sky-high,” Navratilova told Sky Sports.

“It wasn’t a fluke because Emma has got that level. It wasn’t just she played great tennis and then all of a sudden she can’t play, but the pressure that’s been on her since then — particularly being a Brit — you can’t get away from it.

“It’s a big burden to carry, but hopefully she’ll get back to it and most of all she needs to get healthy and stay healthy – and, that way, you can build on that.

“It’s hard to build any confidence and momentum from winning because you don’t stay healthy enough to win. It’s a nasty Catch 22 where you can win with confidence but you can’t have confidence without winning.

“Hopefully she’ll get healthy and stay healthy so we’ll see her talent again.”

Emma Raducanu has had another injury interrupted season this year, with her pulling out of the Miami Open due to a back complaint.

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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.