Annabel Croft on why Emma Raducanu’s return to spotlight at US Open won’t end in tears

Emma Raducanu recalls her on-court experience at Wimbledon

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Emma Raducanu entered Wimbledon last month as one of the most eagerly anticipated British players but left in tears on July 6. The 18-year-old dropped out amid “difficulty breathing” as she fought Australian Ajla Tomljanovic for a shot at the Grand Slam quarter-finals. But the setback didn’t keep her down for long, and former tennis ace Annabel Croft thinks she is ready to claim her well-deserved top spot.

After her shock withdrawal, Raducanu spent time cultivating wins at the US Open.

There, she managed to fend off 23-year-old Georgian Mariam Bolkvadze 6-3, 7-5 in the second qualifying round.

Speaking at the launch of Amazon Prime’s US Open coverage this year, Croft said she expects Raducanu has found her groove.

Although she faces stiff competition from Egyptian Mayar Sherif, Wimbledon and the WTA Tour have set her up for success.

Speaking to Tennis365, she said Raducanu is sustaining her “stir”.

Croft added: “People know who she is, and she is creating a bit of an aura around here as people are talking about Emma.”

She mentioned Raducanu’s athletic ability, talent and mental fortitude as credits to her success.

With these matches under her belt, the next step is “going onto the main tour and adapting to that”, Croft said.

She said Raducanu could relieve some of the pressure by scattering “lower-ranked tournaments” between competitions.

Time away from the cameras helped the former Number One – who claimed victory for Britain at the WTA Tour in 1985 – focus on her game, and she said it could do the same for Raducanu.

She said: “Playing away from the spotlight in the UK could help her, and I know in my playing career, that was something I enjoyed.

“There are a lot of eyes on you playing as a British player at Wimbledon and getting away from that attention can allow you to focus on your game.”

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Raducanu retired one set and 3-0 down during her Wimbledon match while clutching her stomach and visibly struggling for breath.

She received medical attention during the break and was later retired for an exam.

At the time, she had not dropped a single set at the competition.

She told the BBC doctors could not provide a cause of her symptoms but believed it was a combination of “everything that has gone on behind the scenes in the last week and accumulation of the excitement and the buzz”.

Posting to Twitter the day after backing out, she told her Twitter followers she was feeling “much better”.

Raducanu added: “I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week, and I think the whole experience caught up with me.

“At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy.”

She added that she would use the experience to “come back stronger” and couldn’t wait “to see what’s next on my journey.”

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