Emma Radocano hopes to have found the right formula once again as she prepares to defend her US Open title with a tough first-round match against France’s Alize Cornet.
Even in the craziest of dreams, Raducanu couldn’t have foreseen what the next year would be when she took her place in the qualifiers to Flushing Meadows 12 months ago.
The unbelievable peak in her first Slam title was followed by the inevitable struggles to adjust to life as a full-time spotlight tennis player.
Raducanu at least goes to the tournament well behind her after beating Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams in Cincinnati while playing US Open balls, whose strengths Iga Swiatek among others has mocked.
She has a difficult first-round draw against France’s Alize Cornet on Tuesday – Join our game-by-game blog from midnight to get live updates.
“I think looking back, I can say there are many months in the year since I haven’t actually been swinging freely,” said the 19-year-old.
“It’s so easy back then, but when you have absolutely no idea what’s about to hit you, to say something like that, I still had that energy from those two weeks. Obviously a lot of things have happened since then. now.”
Can Raducano retain her US Open title?
Fifteen different players have won major titles since the start of 2017 and so far eight of them are one-time champions.
Raducanu, who is in a trial period with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov, has been noticeably more aggressive during her training sessions and intends to maintain the same approach.
“There have been tournaments for sure where I haven’t, but I’m very happy with Cincinnati, how I’ve been able to play, and I think I see the rewards you’re getting, playing with Serena and Vika in a back-to-back game and having a tough game against Jesse (Jessica Pegula), my level was definitely showing. Some positive signs.
“Results and gains, it doesn’t come often but obviously when you do you have to really cherish it and take the positive energy out of it and I take confidence knowing that I have the ability to produce that kind of level.
“To play Vica and Serena, even if it’s not necessarily about tennis, a big part is my mind, just to keep the focus, and not be afraid of who you’re playing on the other side of the net.
“To have that belief that I had in Cincinnati, I think I’m going to continue that and try to keep it here.”
Radocano took her first steps back to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, taking some time to enjoy it all before a training session with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
“Twelve months is obviously a bit long, but back here, I honestly feel like I never left,” she said.
“Coming into town, it just went so fast. A lot has happened but I feel like I was here yesterday or last week. It feels really weird. I obviously learned a lot but time goes by so fast.”
When asked if she feels any pressure ahead of her first-round match, Radocano replied, “I think defending a title is just something the press makes up. I only play it one game at a time. Like, every player is very capable in this lottery.” I just focus on what I’m doing, my own path.
“Like I said last year, I’m going to do things my way.”
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Who else is at work on Tuesday?
Wimbledon semi-finals Cameron Norrie He begins his campaign with a match against Frenchman Benoit Baer. He gets up first at 4 p.m. at Court 11 – Join our game-by-game blog for live updates.
fellow brett, Dan Evansseeded 20, finished second on Court 10 against Czech Jiri Vesely.
Spanish duo Carlos Alcaraz and four-time US Open champion Rafael Nadal play at Arthur Ashe Court against Sebastian Baez and Rinky Hijikata respectively.
Two-time champion here Naomi Osaka faces 19th seed Danielle Collins in a superb night match.
Women’s World No. 1 Iga Swiatek topped for the first time on Louis Armstrong Court against Italy’s Yasmine Paolini.