Emma Raducanu has been told that she needs to define her game and was pointed towards Novak Djokovic in comparison, after the Brit limped out of her last 16 match at the ASB Classic ahead of the Australian Open. The 20-year-old was in floods of tears as she appeared to roll her ankle, and now her participation in the first Major of the year is in doubt.
The Brit was in control against Viktoria Kuzmova on Thursday before she was forced to withdraw in New Zealand, denting her chances of building up momentum ahead of the Australian Open.
Raducanu would have been hoping to begin the new year on a positive note, having struggled with form and fitness throughout 2022 and changed coaches on several occasions. Swedish former world No 1 Mats Wilander has explained that she needs to define her game and also find a long-term coach to be successful in the future.
“She has to solve certain things around her tennis,” Wilander told Eurosport. “She’s got to solve the coaching situation. She’s got to find somebody that she trusts so that she finds her identity as a player.
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If you ask me, and I’ve seen a lot of tennis, I don’t know if I’m going to put her in the aggressive category or if I’m going to put her in the defensive category. If I’m going to put her forehand better than her backhand. Is her movement as good as [Iga] Swiatek? I don’t know what I’m looking for because it’s a little bit all over the place, and everything fell into place during two weeks in New York. That’s it.”
Raducanu appointed German Sebastian Sachs as her new coach in December, her fifth in 18 months, but Wilander feels that Djokovic can be an example to her as she looks to find her strengths within the sport. “She can be one of the best players in the world,” Wilander added. “But she has to find an identity. What am I relying on? What’s my absolute strength?
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“Novak Djokovic, for example, is the one I compare her to. Novak’s strength is what? The forehand, it’s really good. The backhand, unbelievable serve, really good. What’s his strength, covering the court? Movement, not missing.
“Emma Raducanu, I don’t know where she is, and I think that she needs a coach to work that out, and that doesn’t take two weeks. That takes a couple of years to find a person to trust and then work through all this, and eventually one day you say, ‘Ah, we found it’.”
Raducanu now will be hoping she can recover from her ankle injury in time for the Australian Open, with the draw set to be made on January 12.
Source:Story by Jack McEachen,