By: Gyang Dakwo
Emma Raducanu admits she had no idea how winning the US Open would affect her tennis but hopes she has found the right formula again.
The 19-year-old stunned the sporting world 12 months ago as her aggressive approach propelled her to the title without dropping a set.
Raducanu vowed afterward to keep the same free-swinging attitude but now accepts that was much easier said than done with expectations sky high and attention on her every move.
She told the PA news agency: “I think looking back I can say there have been many months in the year since that I haven’t actually been swinging freely.
Since becoming the first player ever to win 10 matches at the same slam, Raducanu has failed to win more than two at any tournament, so the chances of anything approaching a repeat appear very slim.
But she at least arrived at Flushing Meadows with some positive momentum after reaching the third round in Cincinnati last week, beating Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka before losing a close contest with top-10 American Jessica Pegula.
Raducanu, who is having a trial period with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov, was also being noticeably more aggressive again and she intends to maintain the same approach.
“To play Vika and Serena, even if it’s not necessarily all about tennis, a massive part is mental, just to stay focused, not be intimidated by who you’re playing on the other side of the net.
“To have that belief which I did have in Cincinnati, I think I’m just going to carry that through and try and keep that up here.”
Raducanu took her first steps back in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, taking time to soak it all in before a practice session with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.