Barbara Schett has come to the defence of Britain’s Emma Raducanu after England rugby coach Eddie Jones said “there’s a reason” she had struggled since winning the US Open, citing off-court distractions.
Eurosport expert Schett, who is a tournament ambassador at WTA Linz where Raducanu was playing, has defended the rising star and urged people to give her time and “not make harsh comments like that”.
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“It’s always easy for people to make comments about somebody’s life, and the England rugby coach probably doesn’t know tennis very well,” Schett told Eurosport.
“Yes, she hasn’t won a lot of matches after winning the US Open, but I don’t necessarily think it is because she is wearing Dior dresses, having a photoshoot or going to the James Bond premiere.
“She is trying to stay in the moment, and I think her main goal is to be a tennis player. But you just have to give her a bit of time. As every Grand Slam winner says, the first Grand Slam changes your life.
As a rugby coach, you probably can’t necessarily comment on that. It’s a team sport, and unless you have been in tennis, you should not make harsh comments like that.
“I think she knows exactly what she is doing. It is very tricky, we all know that, but I’m sure she has a good team around her now, with the agent and the parents, so she is not getting too carried away.
“But the hardest part is knowing how to deal with the expectations and with the pressure.”
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“I think it is really important that she has appointed a coach,” Schett said.
“Torben Beltz certainly has a fair bit of experience, especially with Angelique Kerber. They had so much success together, and we will see how it goes with Emma.
Angelique Kerber of Germany talks to her coach Torben Beltz in her round two match against Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan during day three of Sydney International at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre
Image credit: Getty Images
“I don’t think they had a trial period, so it is going to be interesting to see, but she certainly needed someone who has a lot of experience with top players.
“He is also a very positive guy and you only find out once you work with somebody, so we will see how it goes.”
Looking ahead to the Australian Open at the start of 2022, Schett believes it is going to be “very, very tricky for her” to succeed in Melbourne the way she did in such improbable fashion in New York.
“It’s not going to be easy for her,” she said. “First of all, she has never played at the Australian Open, and secondly, it is the first Grand Slam after winning the US Open.
“So there will be a lot of attention, there will be a lot of eyes on her, and a lot of pressure, I’m sure. The next thing to see with Emma is how she is going to deal with all that attention and expectation.
“I don’t think she is going to win the Australian Open, I think it will be tricky for her.
“Also, a lot of other top players are going to be back there again competing and they have no pressure, she is the one who has to basically deliver because of those expectations.
“So I hope that she is going to do okay, but I think it is going to be tricky. It’s going to be very, very tricky for her.”
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Source: Euro Sports