Emma Raducanu ‘won’t do major damage at Australian Open,’ predicts top commentator
Barbara Schett doesn’t expect Emma Raducanu to cause any upsets at the Australian Open, claiming the tennis world “knew this was going to be a very difficult year for her.”
Last year, 19-year-old British youngster Raducanu became the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam title when she won the US Open, beating World number five Maria Sakkari and Swiss Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the process.
However, Raducanu’s season began poorly after she suffered a humbling defeat to Elena Rybakina and drew a tough opening match at the Australian Open where she will play 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
She is also in the same section of the draw as two-time Slam champion and World number three Garbine Muguruza and idol Simona Halep.
Should Raducanu go far at the Open, she could face World number two Aryna Sabalenka, 2020 French Open victor Iga Swiatek or three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals. However, former top ten Barbara Schett feels this is out of reach.
Schett told Tennis365 at a Eurosport event that “we all knew this was going to be a very difficult year for her.
“Then she plays her first match and she plays against someone who reached the final in Adelaide the week before and someone who hits the ball incredibly hard (Elena Rybakina).
“Then she gets beaten in less than an hour. It was a surprise to me that it was 6-0, 6-1, but it wasn’t a surprise to me that she lost.
“Emma still needs to get used to the whole situation. Her life has changed completely and I have no doubt that she will have success in the future, but this is a year that she has to get used to being a Grand Slam champion and people looking at her, expecting a lot of her.
“You have to give her a bit of time to settle down and I don’t think she is going to do major damage at the Australian Open.
“With Emma, all of this was a surprise overnight … all of a sudden, she takes the trophy home. That is hard to digest,” Schett claimed.
“People who have won Grand Slam titles say their life was never the same. The expectations coming from the outside change when you win and coming from Great Britain, there is even more pressure and you are in the newspapers every day.
“She needs time to develop as a person and a player. It is up there in the mind, that is the toughest part.”
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