NEW YORK: Emma Raducanu (Photo) has spent her time moving from one media interview to the next since her fairytale triumph at the US Open and how she handles her newfound fame could be as important as her tennis skills to her long-term success term.
The 18-year-old Briton stunned the world with her unlikely title run last week, triggering comparisons to some of the sport’s greatest achievements.
Her innocence, youthful exuberance and infectious smile have made Raducanu an instant hit with fans and media and sports marketing experts believe she could become one of the most salable athletes in the world.
Raducanu isn’t the first teenage girl to win a Grand Slam title, of course, and the experiences of other women who have made their inroads onto the game’s biggest stage in recent years to exemplify this sudden fame can be a blessing. mixed.
“I often say that we prepare to handle a defeat, but often we do not prepare for success,” said Daria Abramowicz, a sports psychologist who works with Pole Iga Swiatek who won the French Open at the ‘age 19 last year. Reuters.
“The biggest challenge from a psychological point of view as we look at high performance sport is to adapt and adjust to this new reality… in terms of the partnership, the sponsorship, the business aspect.”
Swiatek’s triumph at Roland Garros was almost as breathtaking as Raducanu’s and she said it changed her life overnight, preventing her from adjusting to her celebrity status and meeting the financial demands and media.
The most striking example is that of Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who has been named the next dominant player in women’s sport since she stepped onto the big stage with her triumph at the US Open in 2018.
Still just 23 years old, the four-time major champion has struggled with mental health issues which she says were triggered by the enormous burden of expectations hanging over her.
Raducanu has had help at hand as she is managed by super-agent Max Eisenbud, who made Maria Sharapova the highest-paid female athlete after the Russian won Wimbledon at the age of 17 .
Katie Spellman, who represents several big winners Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova, said her advice to the Raducanu team would be to focus on quality rather than quantity in terms of media engagements.
Spellman also suggested professional media training for her and adding someone to the Raducanu team who could help the teenager manage her social media accounts, which have seen subscriber numbers increase. days.
However, it is not only the higher profile that will make a difference for Raducanu in the future, but also the attitude and approach of his opponents on the pitch.
“The other players will prepare their game, will try to find their weakness on the court, will not be surprised at the level or the tactics for example, it is the work that people do at the moment in tennis on a daily basis.” Abramowicz added.
This means that achieving more success after the initial breakthrough can take time, if ever.
Swiatek has reached a Grand Slam quarter-final since her triumph at Roland Garros, while Jelena Ostapenko is nowhere near matching her success at Roland Garros 2017.
Bianca Andreescu’s victory over Serena Williams in the 2019 US Open final was seen as a seismic event in women’s tennis, but the Canadian has not won a WTA title since, although the injury has wiped out all. its 2020 season.
Even Williams, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, took three years to win her second Grand Slam title after her first at 17 at the 1999 US Open.
“The organization (WTA) has a lot of experience with a lot of players who have been in a similar situation (at Raducanu),” said Abramowicz.
“We have to remember that for each of them, this is the first time. So if we can share the experience and help educate it will probably be the best. “- Reuters