Emma Raducanu is going to the ‘top’ of women’s tennis because of her attitude, Mats Wilander has insisted in a stinging contradiction to John McEnroe’s verdict on the teenage sensation. McEnroe previously questioned Raducanu’s physical and mental state ahead of the French Open.
The 19-year-old defeated fellow teenager Linda Noskova 7(7)-6(4) 5-7 6-1 in her first-round match at Roland Garros. A criticism of the US Open champion is her ability to overcome adversity – but she did well to dominate the third set after losing the second.
Seven-time grand slam champion Wilander believes Raducanu is going to be a star of the women’s game for years to come due to her attitude. But that was not a view taken by legendary tennis figure McEnroe.
Wilander told Eurosport: “People are sort of doubting her a little bit, she hasn’t been around that long, but I have to say every time I see her play, I am convinced she is going to get to the top of the women’s game at some point because her attitude is absolutely fantastic.
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“She does everything well on court, she moves well and is solid off both sides. The most important part: she has a great attitude through all these tough times, when everybody is doubting her and she’s not winning many matches. She’s so positive and I love watching her play because of her attitude.”
McEnroe has been a strong critic of Raducanu despite her remarkable triumph at Flushing Meadows last September. The Bromley-based starlet has suffered some mixed form ever since that success.
The 63-year-old McEnroe questioned Raducanu’s physical and mental wellbeing ahead of the French Open, telling the BBC: “I’m not sure where she is physically or mentally right now. She obviously did something spectacular at the US Open and you would try to, in some ways, replicate what she was feeling at that time to allow her to play freely.
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“That’s a lot harder now because the expectations are a lot higher so she has to find a group that can get her comfortable and allow her to train in a way that she understands is good for her and be able to go on the court and feel some type of joy and happiness playing.
“That’s the trick. But there is no way to do that, or understand how to do that, unless you understand the person. That’s the job of a coach or people around her to get her to a place to do what she does best.”
Raducanu will face World No.71 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round at Roland Garros. The 28-year-old Czech defeated Raducanu at Indian Wells in 2021.