Emma Raducanu still ‘trying to figure everything out’ after frustrating start to year ahead of Indian Wells

Emma Raducanu has described a string of misfortunes this year as a “spanner in the works” for her career development – but is prepared for the “bumpy” ride.

Raducanu pulled off one of the biggest shocks in tennis history last summer when she came through qualifying to win the US Open title.

But she hasn’t been able to build much momentum since, with a positive Covid-19 test in December the first setback to her preparations for 2022.

She then suffered from blisters at the Australian Open and was a doubt to play the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this week due to a leg injury.

“I was hoping for a really good pre-season in December which didn’t happen because I got Covid,” said Raducanu ahead of her second-round match against Caroline Garica.

“And then I took three weeks off, and then in Australia, I kind of felt the effect of that because I got blisters because my hands got soft and then I got a leg injury, but it’s all part of it. A spanner in the works.

“I feel like I can take all the bad luck that is thrown at me after all the good fortune I had last year. But, yeah, it’s frustrating because I was hoping to kind of build on it.”

Indian Wells was the next stop for Raducanu after her memorable US Open win last September. With all eyes on her she was beaten in her first match in straight sets by Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Her profile has continued to rise since then, including several big sponsorship deals, and she admits she is still getting used to her new life.

“Still trying to figure everything out and everything is still very new and it’s going to take a while to really settle into it,” she said.

“And I accept that it’s not going to be the smoothest ride and it’s going to be bumpy, but what can I do about it? I’ve kind of been put in a scenario that’s not really been done before and I’m trying to figure it out as I go along.”

Raducanu is seeded 11th at Indian Wells and is set to face Garcia in her first match after she beat Dayana Yastremska.

‘A challenging start!’ – Henman says it feels like Raducanu was ‘playing catch up’ this year

Raducanu is 3-6 since winning the US Open and retired from her previous match in Guadalajara in late February with a hip injury.

“To be here is really positive a bit of a bonus for me,” she said.

“Basically everyone was like ‘there’s no chance you’re playing Indian Wells’ so to be here is actually for sure a bonus just to make it here and it’s really positive not to miss such a big event.

“Just driving to the site here is really, really nice and picturesque especially during the sunset if you get to catch it.

“And I think with good music it’s really cool. It’s up there for sure with one of the nicest places that we play.”

“When I think of young players like Emma Raducanu and Carlos Alcaraz, I want them to try and not pay too much attention to what they may see on there because it could hurt them a lot.

“No matter how well they perform on the tennis court, I worry that they are not yet prepared to carry all of the weight and pressures that inevitably come with social media.

“I have suffered from it myself and wouldn’t want others to experience it, but ultimately it’s part of tennis and it is the price to pay for success.”

Fifth seed Badosa starts the defence of her title on Friday.

– – –