Emma Raducanu: ‘It’s About Staying In The Moment’

As Wimbledon approaches, Grazia talks to the British tennis star about competing under the spotlight.

Emma Raducanu

by Georgia Aspinall |

For many 19-year-olds, June marks the start of a chaotic booze-filled break where finding the perfect summer festival outfit is the main priority. For Emma Raducanu, partying is far from her mind – it’s Wimbledon season, and that marks her return to the world stage.

The tennis star made her Wimbledon debut as a wildcard last year, just weeks after her first ever match for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) at the 2021 Nottingham Open. Soldiering through the tough-going Grand Slam tournament to reach the fourth round against Ajla Tomljanović, Emma shocked the British public when she was forced to retire after experiencing dizziness and breathing difficulties. Less than three months later, she won the US Open and received a congratulatory note from the Queen. Since the US Open, Emma has won nine and lost 12 of her tour matches and was most recently forced to retire from the Nottingham Open after a ‘freak injury’ mid-set against Viktorija Golubic. It’s no wonder all eyes are on Emma ahead of Wimbledon then, fingers firmly crossed for a swift recovery before the championships begin on 27 June.

Photo: Danika Magdelena

One would wonder how a young athlete copes with such intense attention, and I put this to her when we speak, during a photoshoot for a new Evian campaign with Dua Lipa. Does she feel more pressure to perform this season? ‘I go into tournaments thinking the same, but the people around me might have other expectations of me,’ Emma smiles. ‘I think it’s just about staying in the moment of process but I know there might be some outside noise. I’m just trying to focus on where I’m doing well and where I can improve.’

That outside noise Emma references is feverish. Speculation has been rife around the athlete – the latest debate being who her next coach will be, after she ended a five- month spell with Torben Beltz in April. Emma has tested out four coaches in the last year, and says she’ll take her time deciding her next permanent one – but
how has the physical preparation been this time around?

‘I’ve not actually had that much time to prepare for this season, because of various other things I’ve picked up,’ Emma tells me. ‘My current training programme changes a lot; we don’t have that much consistency because we’re always on the road.

‘I train maybe five to six hours on a big double-session day,’ she adds. ‘I feel like I’m really taking this year to be patient, get through the year and build some experience to keep in the bank for next year or the year after, when I get into more of a groove of things: this is a very new learning experience.’

With so much focus on future seasons, I wonder what her hopes are for Wimbledon 2022 (we spoke prior to her injury). ‘I have really happy memories of Wimbledon so I’m actually really looking forward to going back,’ Emma says simply. ‘This year I’m sure it will be a little bit different. I’m proud of the support I received last year especially, it was pretty amazing.’

That support will surely peak again this year, but what about after the tournament ends – does she ever get to live a ‘normal’ teenage life outside of tennis? Emma laughs. ‘Actually, no I don’t, I don’t have a life. If I have any time I like driving so that’s one thing I do, but I really don’t have down time and probably do need to work on switching off more. But I’m also enjoying what I’m doing right now.’

Emma Raducanu and Dua Lipa star in Evian’s new campaign ahead of the tennis championships this summer. Celebrating authenticity and honesty, the Evian campaign invities people to be daring and have the freedom to be their true selves.

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