Serena Williams’ former coach Rick Macci has told Emma Raducanu she needs to become mentally ‘bulletproof’ if she is to fulfil her potential.
Raducanu took the tennis world by storm in 2021 when she won the US Open, becoming the first ever qualifier to win a major.
Her career has fallen off dramatically since, and she is currently out injured after surgery on both wrists and an ankle.
She is aiming for a comeback in early 2024 though, and many an expert has been lining up to tell her she needs to make sure she is physically robust enough to cope with life on the WTA Tour.
Macci, though, believes the area where Raducanu needs to be most robust is mentally, especially given the added pressures of the spotlight her incredible US Open win put her under.
“She should want pressure,” Macci told the Telegraph. “You do all this training to be a professional player and want to be the best in the world. She has to be able to deal with what comes with that.
“She must be prepared to deal with the media. To say she sometimes wishes she didn’t win the US Open because of the mental and physical strain it has brought cuts both ways.
“If she’s going to listen to every little thing that is said about her then that doesn’t work, you’ve got to be bulletproof. You need an ability to forget just as importantly as the ability to remember and she must learn from the adversity she’s faced.”
Will the break from tennis help Emma Raducanu?
Since winning the US Open in 2021, Emma Raducanu has spent more time away from the WTA Tour that she has spent on it.
She currently sits at number 294 in the world having played just seven tournaments and 10 matches in 2023.
Macci, though, thinks that could end up being a positive for Raducanu as she will have had plenty of time to assess her game and mature away from the limelight.
“It can be good to have time out to reflect, as Naomi Osaka did before she was pregnant after success early in her career,” Macci said. “But working on areas such as footwork and technique takes time, building confidence takes time.
“She’s maturing and by having time out she can see who is maturing around her, what she expects of them and what she expects of herself. The good thing is she’s very young and this a long-term process, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.
“It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. I know when you qualify and then win a Grand Slam without losing a set you’ve got something special between the ears – and much of the game is played between the ears.
“She must have a mature mindset and it’s so important to get the right people around her. If she wants to be up there with the best in the world you have to be all in, or you’re going to be out.”