While I don’t like the tennis media as a whole (or many of its individuals), I have all the time in the world for Tumaini Carayol and his piece in The Guardian about new US Open champion Emma Raducanu is spot on:
Recent history underlines how difficult it can be to back up a grand slam title. For some it is the vertigo of life-changing highs, while the parity of the women’s game means there are so many players that have the potential to win any given tournament. Having spent barely any time as part of the chasing pack, she will have to adjust to the feeling of having a target on her back.
Tennis is also an extremely difficult sport to perform at a consistently high level in. Fortunes shift quickly, both in positive and negative directions, and losing is paramount to tennis and essential for growth. Even the best players in the world, including Novak Djokovic who has lost five times in 10 tournaments this year, frequently fail.
As Raducanu continues on her path it is imperative people allow her the space to grow, improve and make mistakes without burdening her with their pressure and impossible expectations. There is no value in being overly critical of losses that she has proven can be such essential lessons in her progress.
A lot of people made her into the new face of British tennis, a future multiple slam champion, and, according to Tessa Sanderson in The Sun, “thanks to Emma Raducanu, tennis in Britain is no longer regarded as white and middle class”. After one anomalous grand slam win? Y’all gotta chill.