‘She can’t be very confident’ – 18-time Slam champion worries for Emma Raducanu ahead of Australian Open debut
Chris Evert believes the pressure could be too much for Emma Raducanu before she takes on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in her first ever Australian Open match.
The two-time Australian Open winner cited the fact that Raducanu has had mixed results since her astonishing run to the US Open title last year.
The Brit has played four events since her triumph in New York, claiming a record of 2-4 in that time, including a heavy 6-0, 6-1 defeat to Elena Rybakina at the Sydney Tennis Classic just last week.
“There’s a lot of pressure and she can’t have that much confidence going into this tournament because she hasn’t won a lot of tournaments,” Evert said on Eurosport.
“You just hope when somebody is ranked outside of the top 100 and they win a Grand Slam, you kind of wonder, are they an outlier or are they meant to be winning the US Open?
“And I just don’t know, if it happened too early for her, maybe a lot of people would think that, but everybody’s gunning for.”
Raducanu is seeded 17th at the Australian Open while her opening round opponent, Sloane Stephens, is one of just two unseeded Major champions in the women’s draw that the Brit could have possibly drawn, the other being 2011 US Open winner Sam Stosur.
“[Stephens] is a Grand Slam winner, and in the first round that’s about as tough a first round as [Raducanu] could get,” Evert added on that point.
Another Australian Open winner, 2004 champion Justine Henin, also gave her opinion on how Raducanu might fair at the Melbourne event, setting a reasonable bar of the third round for the 19-year-old.
Whoever wins between Raducanu and Stephens will face either Korean qualifier Su Jeong Jang or Montenegro’s Danka Kovinić in the second round.
Watch the Australian Open exclusively live on discovery+, Eurosport and Eurosport app.
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