Raducanu pulls out ‘joke’ question after shock loss

Under pressure? You are joking.

Emma Raducanuwho won last year US open at the age of 18, he has not progressed beyond the second round of a grand slam tournament since then.

That streak continued on Wimbledonwhere she lost to Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-3 at Center Court.

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“There is no pressure. Like, why is there any pressure? I’m still 19. Like, it’s a joke. I literally won a slam,” said the 19-year-old British player. “Yes, I have had attention. But I’m a slam champion, so no one can take that away from me. Yes, if anything, the pressure is on those who haven’t.”

But whether or not the player herself believes there is no pressure on her, some have the impression that she has struggled to adjust to life as a big winner.

“I spoke to a few people who suggested that after the success Raducanu had at the US Open, the world opened up to her,” Wally Masur said on Stan Sport’s Grand Slam daily

“Lots of support, a lot of time spent advertising certain products – maybe just a little focus on what really matters, and just having to get back on track with the training, and the focus, and dealing with all the off- court stuff.”

Tenth-seeded Raducanu has recently suffered minor injuries, including a side injury that forced her to withdraw from a match at the Nottingham Open two weeks ago. She said she felt no pain, but admitted she was rusty after playing just “seven hours of tennis in a month.”

“To compete with these girls even at this level and win a round I think is a pretty good achievement,” she said.

Raducanu defeated Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-4 in the first round – also in the main stadium – but ran into a player on a pitch in the second round. Garcia, who is ranked No. 4, extended her winning streak to seven games, including the title last week in Bad Homburg in Germany for her first tournament win in three years.

“I struggled to find my way through her today,” Raducanu said. “But it’s okay because when I started this, I didn’t really have much expectations of myself. Playing again at Center Court was another very positive experience for me. So yes, I can move forward with it.”

Forward is Flushing Meadows, where she went from qualifier to major champion last September by beating Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

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“When I go back to New York it’s going to be cool because I have a lot of experience playing on big courts, playing with people in the stadium, playing with the spotlight on you,” Raducanu said.

“I do not mind. I mean, for me everything is learning. I embrace every moment thrown at me.”

On her grand slam debut at the All England Club last year, Raducanu reached the fourth round as a wild card entry. She continued her US Open title with second-round exits at the next two grand slam tournaments – the Australian Open and the French Open.

Raducanu had defeated Garcia in three sets this year at Indian Wells in their only other head-to-head match.

“Of course I learned a little bit when I played against her in the US and tried to learn from my loss and make things better,” said the 28-year-old Frenchwoman. “It was a different surface today, so it’s very different.”

It’s also easier to prepare for Raducanu now, Garcia said, compared to a year ago, when “hardly anyone knew her.”

— Additional reporting by Matt Bungard.

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