2021 was a memorable year for Emma Raducanu. She made her Grand Slam debut at the Wimbledon Championships as a wildcard, where she made it to the fourth round to become the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the Open Era.
At the US Open, she further created history by becoming the first-ever player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam as a qualifier. She also became the first British woman in more than four decades to win a Major. By winning all seven of her main draw matches in straight sets, she became the first woman since Serena Williams in 2014 to achieve that feat.
These highs were then followed by a drop in form and injury troubles. She has not won more than two matches at a tournament since.
“I don’t expect a lot from Raducanu at Wimbledon. She’s had a lot of injuries, not enough time on the court, and there’s plenty of pressure back at her home Slam, the place where she didn’t return to the court to finish her match 12 months ago. Putting all of that together, I’d be surprised if she made a deep run,” Pam Shriver said.
The 59-year-old Shriver also said that she is not surprised by Raducanu’s struggles since winning the trophy at Flushing Meadows.
“It doesn’t really surprise me that she’s had her struggles. After my first US Open at only 16-years-old, I reached the final and lost to Chrissie Evert. That was back in the late 70s at the start of the big tennis boom, it was in my home country. There was a lot of attention and I was still an amateur. I didn’t have any commercial obligations and that makes a big difference these days, completely different to what Raducanu is facing right now,” Shriver said.
While Shriver understands the importance of sponsorships for an athlete, she stressed that Raducanu needs to find a balance between off-court obligations and on-court practice.
“It makes you wonder if somebody with experience of that situation, what she might face, might just say, ‘let’s not overload the off-court obligations and partnerships’. Obviously, you want to capitalise, I completely understand the business side of things. The US Open was my only Major final, you never know how many more you might reach. It’s about finding a balance between the off-court obligations and on-court practise,” Shriver said.
Pam Shriver not in favor of Emma Raducanu’s coaching changes
Emma Raducanu recently announced that she has split with coach Torben Beltz after just five months together. The teenager joined forces with Beltz last November, and her next full-time coach will be her fourth in the span of a year.
At the end of Wimbledon last year, she parted ways with Nigel Sears and moved on to Andrew Richardson, with whom she triumphed at the US Open. Despite that, she chose not to renew Richardson’s contract.
Former World No. 3 Pam Shriver is unsure why it has been difficult for Raducanu to find the right coach.
“The situation has been further compounded by a lot of different coaching transitions, which I’m not in favor of. I don’t know why it’s been so complicated to get a coach to help for this next phase of time, but it clearly has been,” Shriver said.
Despite not expecting Emma Raducanu to fare well at Wimbledon, Shriver said she would be happy if the 19-year-old proved her wrong.
“It would be great if she did [make a deep run] for women’s tennis – the game is always in a great place if there’s British interest at this tournament, we’ve seen it before with Henman Hill and Murray Mania. To have that buzz in the women’s game would be great - we haven’t seen it since Virginia Wade and Sue Barker, apart from a couple of deep runs by Jo Konta in 2017 and 2019,” Shriver said.