Emma Raducanu warned of ‘added stress as defending champion’ by two-time US Open winner
Emma Raducanu has a huge target on her back at the US Open this year and has been warned of the added pressure by two-time champion Naomi Osaka.
The world number 11 won last year’s title as a qualifier ranked 150th in the world, and she now comes into New York as 11th seed and defending champion.
Osaka was defending champion at Flushing Meadows in 2019 and 2021, exiting in the fourth and third round those years.
She has also twice been defending champion at the Australian Open, in 2020 and 2022, going out in the third round on both occasions then.
“I definitely think there is a bit more stress when you’re defending, especially since people throw the word around,” Osaka said. “You think about points and stuff. You don’t want to have all those points taken off. I definitely think it is something that’s in the back of your mind.
“I don’t know. You just want to replicate the success that you’ve done the year prior.”
Raducanu currently holds 2,756 ranking points, 2,030 of which are from her 2021 triumph.
Should she lose in the first round to Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet, she could fall as far as out of the world’s top 80.
Meanwhile, Raducanu has stated that she is less focused on that aspect of her return to the US Open.
“I just focus on what I’m doing, my own trajectory. As I said last year, I’m just going to do things my way,” she said ahead of the event.
For a look at the draw for Raducanu and other top WTA stars, check out Tennishead’s summary of the US Open women’s singles draw.
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