The ‘Raducanu symptom’: tennis, youth and pressure. What the hell is going on? | Sports

The ‘Raducanu symptom’: tennis, youth and pressure. What the hell is going on? | Sports

A cocktail of tennis, pressure and youth. A symptom: Emma Raducanu. And a question in the air, because since the British made history last year in New York by becoming the first player to win the tournament from the preliminary phase, without losing a single set, at only 18 years old and having played until then a single match in the elite, the circuit and the fans wonder: What the hell is happening with her and that good handful of the new generation of tennis players who impact and disappear like shooting stars?

Different theories circulate. There are those who allude (professionals and specialists) to the fact that today’s culture of effort leaves much to be desired, or that technology has taken over their lives and directly affects their competitive appetite and generates a lack of stimulation; there are those who say (technicians) that, simply, their level is well below that of the previous batches; and behind closed doors, they and they (also the trainers) argue that everything responds to the “process” since the media pressure these days ends up devouring boys and girls with exceptional talent. Among the amalgamation of interpretations, weighs the theory that tennis is a crusher of fragile souls and minds due to its scorching annual demand.

Meanwhile, Raducanu, born in London, of a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, continues in free fall – she lost in the first round in New York against Alize Cornet, 13 years older – and without responding to the enormous expectations generated by her irruption a year ago. year. She conquered Flushing Meadows, rose to the noble zone of the classificationHe posed in countless publications and, with the 18 million dollars he billed over the last year (17.9 euros), he climbed the list of Forbes magazine to sixth position in the field of tennis, only behind of Federer, Osaka, Serena, Nadal and Djokovic; In parallel, he excited the dull tennis in the United Kingdom, in need of references.

However, the explosion was as conspicuous as the deterioration in his performance. caressed the top-10but today it is the 79th in the world; this course yielded in the second round in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and in the first season of the US Open; and since she was crowned a year ago, early losses in tournaments are frequent and she has more losses (16) than wins (13). From then to today, four coaches have passed through his bench, without any of them getting the flight back, much less the brilliance.

“I have a target. When you’re up there, everyone wants to beat you and I have to accept it, ”she explained after saying goodbye to him in Paris. “But I feel like I’ve grown a lot. I’m not afraid to start over from scratch. I think everything that’s happening on this trip had to happen,” he said before racing this week at Flushing Meadows. “For a 19-year-old, it hasn’t been a bad year. If a year ago they had told me that it was going to be in the top 100, I would have bought it. Maybe it’s good to start from scratch again, ”he said after losing Tuesday against Cornet.

She is far from the only one suffering from altitude sickness. Leylah Fernandez, her rival in last year’s final and dropped to the first by Liudmila Samsonova (6-3 and 7-6(3), has also recognized that at 19 years old it has not been easy to digest the rush, as already it happened to Bianca Andreescu (winner in 2019) or to Osaka herself. The Japanese, eliminated in the first round by Danielle Collins, has suffered for a long time and says that right now she has a great “chaos” inside. Hypothetical figures come and go Not only on the women’s circuit, but also on the men’s circuit, Kyrgios seems like a basket case and other youngsters who came to take on the world have been deflated.

get lost to find

Reasons for this newspaper Garbiñe Muguruza, who knows perfectly the round trip route of success. “When such a high expectation is created, it is not sustainable because being so young it is not possible to maintain such a high level of tennis. That requires a process, there are plenty of examples of people who have been very good and then have had potholes, and then came back”, concedes the Spaniard, who reached the Wimbledon final at the age of 21, and who conquered Roland Garros with 22 and the important Londoner with 23; “I think it’s absolutely normal and I think you have to take care of those cases because they immediately put you very high, and then… It is what it is. This is how it works business and how everything works, and it is very difficult to control it. You have to go through that and come back.”

And Paula Badosa also argues. “The Raducanu thing is a real madness. There are many young women who play very well, but it is very difficult for a career to always go in a straight line, ”says the 24-year-old Catalan who, after winning the junior Roland Garros in 2015, suffered a depression that almost took her away from tennis . “Sooner or later you have to go through a slump in anticipation. Her thing is totally normal, because it is very difficult to carry and it is very easy to get sidetracked. Then they level up, because they’re so good, but you have to go through that process of losing yourself to find yourself again,” she adds.

Raducanu, surrounded by fans in New York.JULIAN FINNEY (AFP)

With her stroke in Queens, Raducanu became the first British woman to win a major in 44 years. She was chosen by the BBC as a Sports Personality last year and has signed contracts with companies such as British Airways, Porsche, Dior, Evian or Tiffany. She drags two and a half million followers on Instagram. Everyone wants it, everyone wants it. And, not a few voices insinuate that the commercial nebula has disoriented her.

“Perhaps you can see, in the news or on social networks, that I have signed this or that agreement, and I think it is quite misleading because for five or six hours a day and I am at the club for 12”, defends the English, who studies Economics; But if I post a mail in the car on the way to training suddenly it’s like: ‘I don’t focus on tennis’. I think it’s unfair, but it’s something I’ve learned to deal with. I am more insensitive to outside noise. I do things [con los patrocinadores] every quarter, so it’s really not that big of a deal.”

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