Emma Raducanu was directed to Maria Sharapova for…
Emma Raducanu was catapulted into the spotlight in 2021 after her Wimbledon run and subsequent US Open victory. With sponsorship deals following, the British No 1 is looking to balance her new-found fame off the court with the pressure to win on it. With that in mind, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli says Maria Sharapova would be an ideal person to seek advice from.
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has suggested Emma Raducanu could benefit by speaking to Maria Sharapova about handling the “massive” pressure of fame and sporting expectations.
Raducanu exited Wimbledon in the second round, capping off a whirlwind 12 months in which the British No 1 became a household name in the UK when winning the US Open title.
Major sponsorship deals have followed, but so too scrutiny on her decisions to change coaches, and Bartoli believes Raducanu could learn a lot from four-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, who won Wimbledon aged 17.
“For Emma, because she won so young, obviously with all the contracts and sponsorships she has signed, the pressure she has to face – I mean, I cannot start to imagine it,” said 2013 Wimbledon winner Bartoli.
“It is so massive. It takes someone so special to handle it. She probably should maybe get some advice from Maria Sharapova, who has been able to do it. It took Maria a little bit of time before she got the second one (grand slam) but then she went on to five in total.
“You have to be kind with yourself. Give yourself a little bit of time. You just need to get those strong results every time, it might not be winning, but quarters, semis, maybe a final. Then you will get your second one.
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“If it is too dramatic in terms of change of results – like you win, then you lose in the first or second round – it becomes tricky mentally. You think, ‘OK, I am not even close’.
“Once you get closer and you get strong, solid results every time, then you feel like you are there, ‘OK, I am belonging here, I am in the final four or the final eight, then I can have another major breakthrough’.”
Raducanu laughed off the fact she was under “pressure” after losing in the second round to Caroline Garcia at SW19.
She will now prepare for her US Open title defence, and with Raducanu sharing an agent with Sharapova in Max Eisenbud, Bartoli repeated her belief that a conversation between the pair would be beneficial.
“Maria was on the front covers of all the magazines and she had a lot of major deals,” Bartoli added.
“I don’t know exactly how many millions of dollars Emma has been able to sign but, looking at the big picture, it looks sort of similar. And Maria was able to handle it perfectly.
“She beat Serena here and then went on to be one of the greatest champions of the game for a lot of years. For me, Maria has been an example of doing that outside of the court but being able to block it so much on the court. It was only about the match, the business and the winning. She was so good at that.
“Obviously Max was Maria’s agent for so long. I think there could be the connection there. Just getting some advice.
“When you look at the top players, they are constantly looking for some advice, tips from people to help them. Even if it is one or two per cent here or there