Emma Raducanu hopes she’s found the right formula as she prepares to defend her US Open title with a tricky first-round match against tricky Frenchman Alize Cornet.
Even in the wildest dream, Raducanu could not have foreseen how next year would turn out when she took her place in qualifying at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago.
The incredible peak of her maiden Grand Slam title was followed by the inevitable struggles of adjusting to life as a full-time tennis player in the spotlight.
Raducanu at least enters the tournament with good form behind her after victories over Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams in Cincinnati while US Open bullets, derided by Iga Swiatek among others, play to her strengths.
She has a tricky first-round draw against tricky Frenchman Alize Cornet on Tuesday – join our game-by-game blog from midnight for live updates.
“I think looking back I can say it’s been many months into the year since I haven’t really swing free,” the 19-year-old said.
“It’s very easy in the moment but, when you have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen to you, saying something like that, I was still on that energy from those two weeks. Obviously a lot of things happen. have been produced since.”
Can Raducanu retain her US Open title?
Fifteen different players have won major titles since the start of 2017 and so far eight of them are one-time champions.
Raducanu, who is on a trial with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov, has also been significantly more aggressive in her training sessions and she intends to maintain the same approach.
“There were of course tournaments where I wasn’t doing that, but I’m very happy with Cincinnati, the way I’ve been able to play, and I think I see the rewards that it brings, playing Serena and Vika back to back. back and having a pretty tight game against Jessie (Jessica Pegula), my level was definitely showing positive signs,” she said.
“Results and wins don’t come often, but obviously when they do you have to really cherish them and take the positive energy out of them and I have the confidence of knowing that I have the ability to produce that kind of level.
“To play Vika and Serena, although it’s not necessarily about tennis, a lot of it is mental, just to stay focused, not to be intimidated by who you play on the other side of the net.
“To have that belief that I had in Cincinnati, I think I’ll just go on and try to keep that here.”
Raducanu took his first steps at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, taking time to soak it all up before a training session with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
“Twelve months is obviously a bit long, but, coming back here, I really feel like I never left,” she said.
“Coming to town, it just went so fast. So much has happened but I feel like I was here yesterday or last week. It’s a really strange feeling. I obviously learned a lot but time flies.
When asked if she felt any pressure ahead of her first-round match, Raducanu replied, “I think defending a title is just something the press makes up. I just take it one game at a time. Like , every player is very capable in this draw, I’m just focusing on what I’m doing, my own trajectory.
“Like I said last year, I’m just going to do it my way.”
Follow the US Open on Sky Sports
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- We’ll also bring you updated men’s and women’s live scores, results and fixtures.
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Who else is in action on Tuesday?
Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie begins his campaign with a match against Frenchman Benoit Paire. He is first at 4 p.m. on Court 11 – join our game-by-game blog for live updates.
British friend, Dan Evansseeded 20, is second on Court 10 against the Czech Jiri Vesely.
Spanish duo Carlos Alcaraz and four-time US Open champion Rafael Nadal are at Arthur Ashe Stadium against Sebastian Baez and Rinky Hijikata respectively.
Two-time champion here Naomi Osaka takes on 19th seed Danielle Collins in a blockbuster night match.
Women’s world number 1 Iga Swiatek is the first at Louis Armstrong Stadium against Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.
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