LONDON: Injury-hit tennis star Emma Raducanu has said she sometimes wishes her shock 2021 US Open victory never happened as she struggled to meet the physical and mental demands placed upon her.
The Canadian-born British player was only 18 when she stormed to an incredible Grand Slam title in New York without dropping a set as a qualifier.
However, Raducanu has failed to hit those heights again as injuries and a series of coaching changes have taken their toll over the past two years.
The world No. 128 will miss Wimbledon next month as she recovers from ankle and wrist surgeries.
“That moment on the court, when I was celebrating (the US Open win), I was like, I would literally trade any struggle in the world for this moment,” Raducanu told The Times.
“Anything can come my way, I will take it for what I have right now because this is the best thing in the world. I promised myself that, on the court that day.
“Since then I've had a lot of setbacks, one after the other. I am resilient, my tolerance is high, but it's not easy. And sometimes I think to myself 'I wish I'd never won the US Open, I wish that didn't happen'.
“Then I am like, 'remember that feeling, remember that promise', because it was completely pure.”
Raducanu's stunning victory saw her become one of the most commercially in-demand sportswomen in the world almost overnight.
The 20-year-old counts Nike, Porsche, Vodafone and Dior among her sponsors.
However, Raducanu said she has had to grew up quickly on the WTA Tour to avoid being used as a “piggy bank”.
“The tour is completely brutal,” she added. “What I have realised in the past two years, the tour and everything that comes with it, it's not a very nice, trusting and safe space.
“You have to be on guard because there are a lot of sharks out there. I think people in the industry, especially with me because I was 19, now 20, they see me as a piggy bank.
“It has been difficult to navigate. I have been burned a few times. I have learned, keep your circle as small as possible.”
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