New York: Britain’s Emma Raducanu said she was not feeling under pressure less than a month before she returns to New York with a target on her back in her U.S. Open title defence.
Teenager Raducanu completed one of tennis’ most remarkable feats a year ago at Flushing Meadows when the 150th-ranked qualifier swatted aside vastly more experienced opponents on her way to becoming a Grand Slam champion.
The triumph captured the imagination of an adoring British public but she has not won a tournament since, retiring injured in Rome in May and at Nottingham in June and exiting both Roland-Garros and Wimbledon in the second round.
While a return to the raucous crowds of the Big Apple could shake even veteran competitors, the 19-year-old said the only pressure she feels comes from herself and the media.
“(Pressure) is only either what I put on myself or what I expect from myself. I only feel the pressure or think about it whenever I’m in my press conferences because every single question is about pressure,” Raducanu said.
The 10th-ranked Briton most recently lost in the Citi Open quarter-finals to lower ranked Liudmila Samsonova, and said she saw this year’s U.S. Open as an opportunity to start afresh.
“I’m really looking forward to just going back (to New York) and whatever happens I think that it’s going to be a nice close to a chapter, go full circle,” she said.
“Regardless of whatever the result is I can just start again, clean slate. If all my points drop off then I’ll work my way back up. I think it will be, regardless of what happens, (a) fresh start.”