‘Now your opponents have nothing to lose': The challenges awaiting Emma Raducanu

© PA Media

Emma Raducanu has the world at her feet after winning the US Open

– PA Media

As Emma Raducanu looks ahead to the next phase of her career, the 18-year-old Briton would do well to consider the experience of another young player who was one of the sport’s most unlikely Grand Slam champions.

A sparkling future beckoned for Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 when, just four days past her 20th birthday, she became the first unseeded player for 84 years to win the French Open title. However, the Latvian is still waiting to make her second appearance in a Grand Slam final.

“Of course it’s very hard to win a Grand Slam, but it’s probably harder to stay at the top than it is to get there,” Ostapenko told The Independent this week. “Everyone expects you to win every tournament, to play at the same level all the time and to beat everyone.

“You have so much attention from the media, you do so many photo-shoots and everyone wants your attention, but you still have to find time to practise. You mustn’t let those other things take up more of your time than your tennis. In your home country, it’s like you’re a hero. Of course Britain is way bigger than Latvia, but I think maybe it was even harder for me, because we’re such a small country. Everyone knows everyone in Latvia.”

Like Raducanu, who at the US Open last week became the first qualifier to claim a Grand Slam singles title and the first woman to win only their second Grand Slam tournament, Ostapenko went into the French Open four years ago as a rank outsider. She had never won a tournament on the main tour and had never won a match at Roland Garros. However, the then world No47 went on to become the first woman to secure her maiden tour-level title at a Grand Slam event for 38 years, with a stunning display of attacking tennis.

© Provided by The Independent Ostapenko beat Simona Halep in the Roland Garros final for her first ever trophy (AFP via Getty Images)

Although Ostapenko eventually rose to No5 in the world rankings the following year, she has rarely looked capable of repeating her Paris triumph. She made the quarter-finals and semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018, but in the 13 other Grand Slam tournaments she has played since her win at Roland Garros she has failed to progress beyond the third round. She even dropped out of the world’s top 80 two years ago, though winning the title at Eastbourne this summer helped her climb back to her current position of No30.

At Roland Garros in 2017, Ostapenko had benefited from being an unknown quantity to many of her opponents, which was similar to Raducanu’s position in New York this month.

“When players don’t know you and you’re the underdog in every match, you have nothing to lose against the top players and that can help you to play really well,” Ostapenko said. “My opponents didn’t know me that well, because I was still new to the tour. But after I won in Paris, everyone knew me and they knew how I played. They knew how to prepare to play against me, so that was way harder for me.”

She added: “The situation turns around when you’re the Grand Slam champion. You’re the favourite and it’s your opponents who have nothing to lose against you. That’s the hardest part of it all.”

Ostapenko experienced once again this week how an unknown player can benefit from the advantage of surprise. Playing in Luxembourg, she was pushed hard in the second round by Dutchwoman Arianne Hartono before beating the world No300 in three sets.

“I was trying to find videos of her before our match, but I couldn’t find any that were good enough to watch, so I couldn’t find out how she plays,” Ostapenko said. “That was an advantage for her, because she knows how I play. She’s seen my matches. You can easily find my matches on YouTube.”

© Provided by The Independent Emma Raducanu, 18, won the US Open this month (AFP via Getty Images)

Still only 24, Ostapenko believes that she has more Grand slam titles in her. “I just have to work for it and get my consistency back,” she said. “And consistency comes with more matches.”

Ostapenko’s 2017 French Open victory was followed by a succession of Grand Slam triumphs by younger women, including Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Bianca Andreescu, Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin.

“Maybe I was the first one to inspire a lot of girls and they tried to emulate me,” Ostapenko said. “Maybe they saw what I did and started to believe in themselves that it was possible.”

As for Raducanu, Ostapenko believes that the Briton’s future will depend on how she deals with her new standing in the sport.

“Emma is still really young, so we’ll see how she handles all of that,” she said. “From what I saw of her at the US Open, she was handling everything really well, emotionally and in other aspects. She played some really good matches.

“I also played well when I won the French Open, but afterwards my whole life changed. You have completely different status and you need time to get used to it.”

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Trump subpoena? Capitol riot panel chairman says 'nobody's off limits'

The chairman of the House Jan. 6 Select Committee would not rule out subpoenaing former President Donald Trump as part of its investigation into the Capitol riot. © Provided by ... Read more »

Fortnite welcomes Resident Evil's Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield

© Provided by GamesRadar New skins for Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are coming to Fortnite Two legendary S.T.A.R.S. members are shrugging off Raccoon City and taking an island break ... Read more »

Activision Blizzard is offering players the chance to change their BattleTags

© Provided by GamesRadar Overwatch As Activision Blizzard is giving an Overwatch character a name change, the company has also opened up the opportunity for players to change their BattleTags, ... Read more »

Yami Gautam steals hearts in first Karwa Chauth look; Sonali Bendre flaunts 19 year old wedding lehenga

© Provided by Pinkvilla Last night, on October 24th, many people around the country, especially married women, celebrated the popular Hindu festival of Karwa Chauth. On this day, women fast ... Read more »

Virat Kohli: 'They didn't let us come into the game at any stage'

After India suffered their first defeat to Pakistan in World Cups, losing by ten wickets, Virat Kohli admitted that his side was outplayed. In response to India’s 151 for 7, ... Read more »

A shameful history of Tory dither and delay on banning conversion therapy

In July 2018, the Conservative government promised the UK’s LGBT+ community that they would ban the traumatising, dehumanising practice known as conversion therapy. That month, Theresa May’s government released its ... Read more »

Rogers Communications reiterates support for CEO after ousted chairman's move to regain control

Rogers Building, home of Rogers Communications in Toronto (Reuters) – Rogers Communications Inc reiterated support on Sunday for Chief Executive Joe Natale following attempts by former Chairman Edward Rogers to ... Read more »

Juliet Stevenson: ‘As an older woman, you feel vulnerable just going on camera'

Stevenson at the Olivier Awards in 2016 (Getty) So much of life is about ‘trying not to’,” says Juliet Stevenson. “We try not to cry when we’re upset. We try ... Read more »

Insulate Britain vows to resume blocking roads from today despite risk of jail

Insulate Britain protesters have vowed to restart road-blocking protests today despite the risk of members being jailed or fined for causing traffic chaos. © PA The group said the pause ... Read more »

Titans stun Chiefs on short week after upsetting Bills, but players brush aside growing outside noise

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans sent a statement to the league on Sunday with their 27-3 defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs. Holding Patrick Mahomes and Co. to just ... Read more »

How Spencer, The Crown and the internet turned Princess Diana into a Gen-Z queen

Meme queen: Princess Diana in 1995, and Kristen Stewart (left) in ‘Spencer’ and Emma Corrin (right) in ‘The Crown’ (Pool/Liaison/Getty/iStock/Netflix/STX) Timeline dead?” asked one viral tweet in September. “Here’s a ... Read more »

Nationals agree to net zero target by 2050 despite Barnaby Joyce's opposition

Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian Nationals MPs have agreed to sign up to a net zero <a href="/tag/emissions-target“>emissions target by 2050, despite the opposition of leader Barnaby Joyce, in exchange for ... Read more »

Brad Lander's recipe for slamming the housing market to enrich his ‘nonprofit' allies

Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) sponsors an anti-landlord measure that’d be the death of small landlords and affordable units. Paul Martinka A misbegotten City Council drive to prevent landlords from harassing ... Read more »

"My reaction still surprises me to this day." 27 mums on the parenting moments that hurt the most.

© Getty Images “My reaction still surprises me to this day.” 27 mums on the parenting moments that hurt the most. This week, my dear 11-year-old son decided that he ... Read more »

ITCZ to cause rains over NCR, other parts of the country

Rain storm weather disturbance umbrellas sickness disease flu prevention disaster announcement monsoon thumbnail generic 178122558 weather-storm weather-rain news-weather rain thumb weather thumbnail The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) currently affecting Southern ... Read more »

Risiko-Taktik zahlt sich für Red Bull aus - Verstappen rettet den Austin-Sieg

© xpb Der Grand Prix der USA spitzte sich am Ende zu. Da trafen Max Verstappen und Lewis Hamilton wieder aufeinander, nachdem die unterschiedlichen Strategien sie in der zehnten Runde ... Read more »

Diese Sneakers sind 1,5 Millionen Dollar wert

Diashow ein Waren im Besitz eines Balljungen: «Nike Air Ships»-Schuhe von Michael Jordan. Der Käufer ist ein bekannter Besitzer von Sport-Sammelkarten mit Millionenwert. Schon kurz davor wurden Sneakers von ihm ... Read more »

3 Children Found Abandoned, Skeletal Remains of 4th in Houston House of Horrors

Houston cops carrying out a welfare check on an apartment found a nightmare: three siblings abandoned and living with the skeletal remains of a fourth. © Provided by The Daily ... Read more »

Immanuel Quickley working to avoid potentially diminished Knicks role

The depth of the Knicks roster was illustrated in the double-overtime season-opening win versus Boston last Wednesday. The Knicks, who hosted a rematch against Orlando on Sunday, are stacked at ... Read more »

Five things in China's past shaping Xi's world view

© Getty Images Heightened tensions with Taiwan have focused attention on China, with many wondering where President Xi Jinping sees his country on the world stage. Perhaps the past can ... Read more »

Princess Beatrice Just Rewore This Stunning Gucci Dress for Prince Philippos of Greece's Royal Wedding

Is that wedding bells we hear? Another royal has just tied the knot, and this time around it was Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark (aka the godson of Princess ... Read more »

The Post's recommendations on this year's New York ballot questions

A voter fills out the ballot during early voting at Hudson Yards in New York, October 24, 2021. REUTERS/ Bryan R Smith Besides choosing new mayors, DAs and other officials, ... Read more »

Man terrified after ‘I will kill you' written in toothpaste on bathroom mirror

Two men police would like so speak to in connection with a death threat written in toothpaste on a man’s bathroom mirror (Nottinghamshire Police/PA) (PA Media) Police are investigating a ... Read more »

Tears of relief for farmers: Rain falls in drought-stricken Karoo

Farmers in the Karoo were crying — and singing — after rain fell over the area, which has been in the grip of a prolonged drought. But while there were ... Read more »

Hong Kong puts UK to shame with ‘extraordinary' new gay dating show

Hong Kong is getting its first-ever gay dating TV show, to be hosted by out actor Vinci Wong. Boyscation will air on TVs in early November with Wong as both ... Read more »

NASCAR at Kansas results: Kyle Larson's third straight win leaves Championship 4 spots up for grabs

There were three Championship 4 spots up for grabs entering the race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. After the race, there are still three spots up for grabs. The race ... Read more »

The bumpy road to India's electric car revolution

India sold more electric vehicles in September than any month previously. Sales have been rising since April – the start of this financial year – and are already nearing the ... Read more »

This fearsome, ancient army was made up entirely of gay lovers and endorsed by Plato

In the fourth century BC, a fearsome army named the Sacred Band of Thebes was formed, and it was made up entirely of gay couples. Lawmakers in countries across the ... Read more »

Covid live: more than 325,000 in England get boosters in one day; Romania to tighten restrictions from Monday

© Photograph: Nick Moore/Alamy A busy hospital in the UK. A medical leader has said A&Es are now in a ‘terrible place’ ahead of winter. LIVE – Updated at 00:05 ... Read more »

Evacuations as burning cargo ship spews toxic gas off Canada's coast

© Gerald Graham Gerald Graham/AFP The Canadian coast guard has evacuated 16 people from a burning container ship that is expelling toxic gas off Canada’s Pacific coast, but there is ... Read more »

‘Rust' co-star Jensen Ackles posts heartfelt tribute to Halyna Hutchins

Jensen Ackles posted a tribute to “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins who he called an “inspiration.” Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage “Rust” co-star Jensen Ackles posted a heartfelt tribute to cinematographer Halyna ... Read more »

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Sports happenings in Singapore (18-24 Oct)

SINGAPORE — Here is a round-up of sports events and developments in Singapore in the past week (18-24 October): Nazri Nasir names 23 for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers ... Read more »

Larson takes Kansas Cup win in emotional day for Hendrick

© John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com Larson, who dominated much of the race, powered to the lead on a ... Read more »

James Michael Tyler, 'Friends' Alum, Dead at 59 After Battle With Cancer

© Mike Marsland/WireImage James Michael Tyler, best known for his role on Friends, died on Sunday. He was 59. The actor died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles after a ... Read more »

4 new Covid-19 cases in Tricity, 73 remain active

© Provided by The Indian Express The Tricity reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday. No virus-related death was reported. At present, there are 73 active cases of Covid-19 here. ... Read more »

Chandigarh: Saturday recorded as coldest day in Oct in last decade

© Provided by The Indian Express SATURDAY WAS observed the coldest October day in the last decade, since 2011, with the maximum temperature set at 19.3 degree Celsius, along with ... Read more »

UP man dies after mistakenly operated on, say officials

© Provided by The Indian Express A 45-year-old man died after authorities at a Bulandshahr medical facility allegedly operated on him after mistaking him for another patient, district officials said ... Read more »

Charanjit Singh Channi gives grant of Rs 68 crore for 35 villages of Kharar block

© Provided by The Indian Express Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Sunday announced a development grant of Rs 68 crore for 35 villages of Kharar block in Shri Chamkaur ... Read more »

SSP to officials: Ensure 24×7 patrolling, enhance vigil in vulnerable areas

© Provided by The Indian Express Amidst increasing incidents of snatching, thefts, burglaries particularly during the festive season, SSP (UT) Kuldeep Singh Chahal has instructed SDPOs and SHOs to ensure ... Read more »

Both Jammu, Kashmir will grow, ‘3 families' now powerless: Amit Shah

© Provided by The Indian Express Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday promised equitable development of both the Jammu and Kashmir regions, and said “no one” would be allowed to ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic