‘Sometimes I wish I’d never won the US Open’: Emma Raducanu says she was ‘extremely naïve’ when she achieved victory and the tour is ‘not a nice, trusting and safe space’
- Tennis star Emma Raducanu blasted the way young players are treated on tour
Tennis star Emma Radacanu says she was ‘extremely naïve’ when she won the US Open and that the tour is ‘not a nice, trusting and safe space’.
Since her shock win in the major tournament, she has signed multi-million-pound sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Tiffany & Co, British Airways and Vodafone.
But Ms Raducanu has now blasted the way young players are treated on tour.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ms Radacanu said: ‘Sometimes I wish I’d never won the US Open’.
She added: ‘I had to mature very quickly. When I won I was extremely naïve. What I have realised in the past two years, the tour and everything that comes with it, it’s not a very nice, trusting and safe space.’
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during their Women’s Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open
Emma Raducanu attends the British Vogue And Tiffany & Co. Celebrate Fashion And Film Party 2023 at Annabel’s on February 19
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain returns the ball against Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during the second set of their Women’s Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open
Ms Raducanu said you have to be on your guard while on tour, as ‘there are a lot of sharks’ who saw her as a ‘piggy bank’.
‘It has been difficult to navigate. I have been burnt a few times. I have learnt, keep your circle as small as possible,’ she added.
It is only two years ago that she was a schoolgirl unknown to the wider public completing her A-levels at school in Orpington, south-east London.
But just weeks after putting her textbooks away, she enlivened Covid-stricken Britain by reaching the final 16 at Wimbledon, before withdrawing from the tournament after seeking medical attention.
Then, just two months later, she sensationally won the US Open – and £2million – and became a national sporting superstar.
READ MORE: Emma Raducanu blasts tennis ‘sharks’ who ‘have seen her as their piggy bank’ since breakthrough in US Open
But Ms Radacanu will not play at Wimbledon this year because of wrist and ankle injuries, and has lost her UK ladies number one spot.
And she claims she was under extreme levels of pressure after winning the US Open, adding that the tour is ‘completely brutal’.
‘If I lost a match, I would be really down,’ she said.
‘I was under so much pressure to perform, people had no idea what was going on and I had to have this façade, to keep everything inside. It has been really hard.
‘And then to be scrutinised for it when they don’t know what is going on. I am very young and still learning and making mistakes.’
Emma Raducanu at the ‘No Time To Die’ World Premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK on September 28, 2021
Emma Raducanu in action against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in her first-round match at the Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart on April 18, in Stuttgart, Germany
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates victory against Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium in the Women’s Singles First Round match during Day One of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27, 2022
Ms Raducanu added: ‘It is a lot harder when you are making mistakes in front of everyone and everyone has something to say about it. The tour is completely brutal.’
Ms Raducanu said her experience had also been tarnished by a series of injuries – she is recovering from three operations – and the pain escalated after last year’s Wimbledon. ‘I was struggling with the physical pain but the mental side of it was really difficult for me, too,’ she said.
But away from the tennis court, however, former US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 20, appears to have formed her own ‘mixed doubles’ partnership with the son of a billionaire.
He is former Harrow public school head boy Carlo Agostinelli, 22, who also played football for America’s Stanford University while studying international relations.
Mr Agostinelli is the jet-setting son of London-based American private equity dollar billionaire Robert Agostinelli, 70, a former Goldman Sachs banker who once tried to buy Liverpool football club.
Smiles: An injured Emma Raducanu and Carlo Agostinelli in Mexico City
Emma Raducanu and Carlos Agostinelli in Mexico City in May, in a picture from his Instagram
Ms Raducanu and the younger Mr Agostinelli both posted images of themselves enjoying each other’s company in Mexico City last month. Picture from her Instagram
Ms Raducanu and the younger Mr Agostinelli both posted images of themselves enjoying each other’s company in Mexico City last month – and she has also been seen visiting his £2million flat.
Last week, the pair arrived in a limousine together at the mansion block in Kensington, west London, which he calls home when he is not in Paris. He was holding a large bunch of roses, she a tennis racket.
When they emerged a couple of hours later, Ms Raducanu was wearing Mr Agostinelli’s suit jacket as they got into a second limousine and drove off.
Days earlier, Mr Agostinelli’s model sister Heloise had posted an image on social media of her and Ms Raducanu dining together in an exclusive Paris restaurant.
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