Emma Raducanu may have to start all over again following surgery, but former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli believes she has the talent to do it and will not lack focus; Bartoli: “Players can have a lot of endorsements, but they’re able to deal that, so that’s not the issue for Emma”
By Raz Mirza, Interviews, Comment & Analysis @RazMirza
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli believes former US Open champion Emma Raducanu has “not lacked focus” after a number of endorsement deals and says she should not “rush the process” in her comeback from surgery.
Raducanu is currently sidelined following operations on both her wrists and an ankle and is currently taking time out before starting the toil of rehab.
The Briton has already been ruled out of the French Open and Wimbledon, while the US Open could come too soon for the 20-year-old, who famously won at Flushing Meadows in 2021.
Bartoli, who won the Wimbledon title in 2013, expects Raducanu to concentrate on staying healthy in the short term.
“First of all she needs to focus on staying healthy because if you look at her last 18 months since winning the US Open title the amount of injuries she has carried is enormous,” said Bartoli, who also reached the semi-finals of the French Open in 2011. “She hasn’t been able to play a full schedule.
“She’s had to withdraw from tournaments or pull out of matches because the body just doesn’t follow so I think she absolutely needs to find someone in her team that can get her body ready to sustain a full WTA season.
“The physicality of a season is very intense but the talent is always going to be there, so it’s not a question of talent. It’s about aligning every piece of the jigsaw below her to perform at her best every time she steps on the court and unfortunately so far it hasn’t been the case.
“She may almost have to start all over again but I’m sure she can do it, I’m sure she’s ready for that. But she has to build a team around her that believes in what she’s doing and believes in getting her back into the top 10.
“It takes time to build the body and it takes time to get to your fitness level at the level required after being on the sidelines for a few months, so you can’t just rush the process.”
Players can have a lot of endorsements, but they’re able to deal that, so that’s not the issue for Emma. She didn’t have the time to get herself mentally and physically ready to deal with everything that’s been thrown at her since she won that Grand Slam, but it doesn’t mean she won’t be ready. It just requires slightly more time.
Bartoli admits Raducanu, who has plummeted to 106th in the world, could now conserve her energy and concentrate on next year with the right people behind her.
She has previously hired five different coaches in an 18-month span before taking on Sebastian Sachs.
“Maybe 2023 is almost finished for her, but she has to use that for a build up to 2024 and go and target the Grand Slams and the Olympics,” said Bartoli.
“Of course it is important to have the right people, but you can’t blame someone from trying to find those right people and you just can’t also keep going with some people if you don’t feel it’s the right thing for you. If it doesn’t work for you, then you have to be able to make those changes.
“You’re jumping into the unknown and you have to make that path again but it takes time to build the team around you.
“I think for Emma, everything came so quickly. She didn’t have the time to go through every experience like winning a WTA 250, then a 500, and then maybe you get a shot at a Masters 1000 before having a good run at a Grand Slam.
“It wasn’t the case for her because she had a major breakthrough at Wimbledon and then out of completely any expectations she comes out of the qualifiers to win the US Open without dropping a set so to digest that and start over again at the age of 18 is just so difficult.
“We can’t possibly blame her for anything that happens because she has a Grand Slam and nobody will be able to take the title away from her.”
Raducanu has become one of the most marketable assets since her US Open triumph with multiple big-money commercial deals, but Bartoli is not concerned by her endorsements and sponsors, so long as there is no lack of focus.
“She has so many more years ahead of her and if she can get her body ready, I don’t think there is a lack of focus. Of course there are endorsements but Maria Sharapova had a lot of endorsements but she was extremely focused throughout her career and Serena Williams was the same,” Bartoli said.
“Players can have a lot of endorsements, but they’re able to deal that, so that’s not the issue for Emma. She didn’t have the time to get herself mentally and physically ready to deal with everything that’s been thrown at her since she won that Grand Slam, but it doesn’t mean she won’t be ready. It just requires slightly more time.
“Give her time and she will be fine.”