With Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams as examples, Marion Bartoli declares Emma Raducanu not unfocused due to endorsement commitments

Emma Raducanu (L), Maria Sharapova, and Serena Williams (R)
Emma Raducanu (L), Maria Sharapova, and Serena Williams (R)

Former Wimbledon champion Mario Bartoli came to Emma Raducanu's defense in a recent interview, saying that the Brit doesn't suffer from any lack of focus due to her endorsement commitments.

Currently sidelined with injury, the former US Open champion will skip the upcoming French Open and Wimbledon, and will look to make her return on tour as early as possible. Since her historic triumph at Flushing Meadows in 2021, Raducanu hasn't been able to recreate her form, and hasn't won a title in the 18 months that have followed.

Social media abuse and criticism from pundits hasn't been foreign to the 20-year-old in the meantime, as many have blamed Raducanu for losing her focus on tennis in the wake of overwhelming brand association deals.

Bartoli, however, doesn't see things the same way, having seen how legends like Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams navigated that world during their primes. Two of the most sought-after tennis players of all time, Sharapova and Williams went on to create business empires of their own during their heydays, while still remaining near-invincible opponents on the court at the same time.

Taking their example, Marion Bartoli pointed out that Emma Raducanu can do the same, adding that she just needs more time to adjust to the spotlight as she was thrust on to the world stage sooner than most with her US Open triumph.

"She has so many more years ahead of her and if she can get her body ready, I don't think there is a lack of focus. Of course there are endorsements but Maria Sharapova had a lot of endorsements but she was extremely focused throughout her career and Serena Williams was the same," Bartoli said in an interview with Sky Sports.
"Players can have a lot of endorsements, but they're able to deal that, so that's not the issue for Emma. She didn't have the time to get herself mentally and physically ready to deal with everything that's been thrown at her since she won that Grand Slam, but it doesn't mean she won't be ready. It just requires slightly more time. Give her time and she will be fine," she added.

"She may almost have to start all over again but I'm sure she can do it" - Marion Bartoli on Emma Raducanu

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
2023 Australian Open - Day 1

Despite Emma Raducanu being sidelined for the moment, Marion Bartoli isn't worried, as she believes the 20-year-old is capable of starting from scratch and mounting a successful comeback soon. At the same time, the Frenchwoman hopes Raducanu can build the right team around her, one that believes in her.

While Bartoli admitted that 2023 is almost a lost cause for the former US Open champion, she reckons Raducanu can target 2024 realistically and make a go for the Grand Slams as well as the Paris Olympics.

"She may almost have to start all over again but I'm sure she can do it, I'm sure she's ready for that. But she has to build a team around her that believes in what she's doing and believes in getting her back into the top 10."
"It takes time to build the body and it takes time to get to your fitness level at the level required after being on the sidelines for a few months, so you can't just rush the process. Maybe 2023 is almost finished for her, but she has to use that for a build up to 2024 and go and target the Grand Slams and the Olympics," Bartoli said.

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Edited by Shyam Kamal
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