Wimbledon: Raducanu woes expected after 'trauma' of US Open win, says Shriver

By Sports Desk June 27, 2022

Emma Raducanu's struggles after winning the US Open were predictable, according to Pam Shriver, who compared becoming a grand slam finalist at such a young age to "going through a trauma".

Raducanu begins her Wimbledon campaign against Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday, having endured an injury-plagued 2022 season after becoming the first qualifier to win a major in New York last September.

The 19-year-old lasted just 36 minutes when making her first grass-court appearance of the year at the Nottingham Open earlier this month, with a side strain the latest in a series of niggling injuries to befall Raducanu.

Fellow British star Andy Murray said on Sunday that Raducanu's rapid rise to stardom had been "difficult to navigate", a view shared by Shriver, who was just 16 years old when she reached the 1978 US Open final, going down to defending champion Chris Evert in straight sets.

Shriver, whose best singles Wimbledon runs saw her reach the last four in 1981, 1987 and 1988, says the monumental nature of Raducanu's achievements always made a difficult year likely.

"I put it down to the fact you won the US Open. It was life-altering, turn-you-upside-down," Shriver told Stats Perform.

"I mean, I didn't know it as far as being a teenage winner, but I was 16 years and two months old playing my second major when I got to the finals, beating [Martina] Navratilova in the semis. It was my home major. 

"I had a tonne of headlines, I had to play Chris Evert in the finals, who was the most famous female tennis player of that moment. It changed my life, and I didn't even win it. 

"I had a hard time winning matches the next 12 months, it took me 18 months to kind of get back on track. It really shakes you. It's almost like going through a trauma, you need some help to get your orientation, your footing. 

"She went from like [number] 350 in the world to like winning a US Open in a few months, so it doesn't surprise me she's struggling."

Raducanu has an 8-11 singles record in 2022 and has attracted media attention for making repeated changes to her coaching team.

A series of coaches including Nigel Sears, Andrew Richardson and Torben Belts have left Raducanu's team since Wimbledon 2021, and Shriver thinks the 19-year-old's coaching merry-go-round has contributed to her challenging season, along with a lack of fitness.

"First off, she just had way too many injuries," Shriver added. "Short term, if she's not healthy enough, that's going to be tough right there. If she can't last at four-all in the third, maybe she should just play singles, not play multiple events. 

"I really would like to see her get a team around her that is consistent, that stays for a couple of years. I don't think this many transitions, especially when you come off what she's come off, winning a major, is good. 

"I think it's proven to not have been good, even though you can say, 'oh, she's mature, she can take this from this coach and this from that coach, and then she can weave it together'.

"I can't do that, and I'm almost 60 – it's much harder. It's much easier said than done, right? She needs to find a coach who is a really experienced coach, who can help navigate this difficult part of her career."

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