At Wimbledon, Emma Radukanu’s return puts focus on wellness

Wimbledon, England – A day after British teenager Emma Radukanu struggled to control her breath and retired from her fourth-round match at Wimbledon, she was back on bbc for an interview with longtime host Sue Barker.

“I don’t know what caused it,” Radukanu said. “I think it was a combination of everything that happened behind the scenes in the past week, the accumulation of excitement, the discussion.”

Radukanu, 18, reached the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time with a wild card and a ranking of 338. Proceed to defeat three experienced players 4-6, 0-3 against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in straight sets before retirement.

It was horrifying to see him put his left hand on his stomach and his chest with apparent concern in the final game before calling the trainer. It was also a reminder of the pressures of the elite sport. It’s quite an adjustment to play in something as thrilling and potentially tremendous as Wimbledon, especially for a young British candidate who suddenly pops into the limelight.

Wealth is not a given.

“I think when you have a long lens of the present, you don’t know how you’re going to react,” said coach, commentator and former British player Mark Petty, who has worked with Raducanu. “When great champions step out, with their experience, we know because we’ve seen them do it over and over again. But someone like Emma was stepping into the vast void of the unknown, and she didn’t know how. will respond.

Before Wimbledon, Radukanu said that the biggest crowds he had played in before were “probably a hundred” people. On Monday night she was on the No. 1 court under a closed roof and a few thousand were roaring for her. It was heady but ultimately too much, at least on occasion.

She told Barker in her interview, “I think it’s a great learning experience for me to look forward to.” “Now next time hopefully I’ll be better prepared.”

In the meantime, tennis officials can continue to consider how to better serve the well-being of players, especially their youth. It’s been a time of considerable reflection in the game since Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open After clashes with officials over his decision to skip news conferences. When she withdrew before her second round match, she revealed that she was coping with bouts of depression since winning his first Grand Slam singles title in US Open in 2018.

The cases of Radukanu and Osaka are not necessarily comparable.

“Emma was a very competitive situation where all of a sudden it got overwhelming,” Petty said. “I don’t think Emma personally would feel that way again, and I think it’s very different from Naomi’s situation, which I think is the hardest thing in our game right now because she’s such a megastar, and somehow We need to solve this.”

Osaka, who represents Japan but is based in the United States, has not competed since the French Open. Skipping Wimbledon To spend time with friends and family at home in California. but He joined the Japanese broadcaster NHK. confirmed by It’s this week that she intends to participate in the Tokyo Olympics starting July 23 and attend news conferences considering her mental health.

Re-establishing that dialogue with the public and the news media after the standoff in Paris last month seems like a conciliatory and constructive move.

Her criticism of the current system, which she finds repetitive and too often negative, and her openness to her mental and emotional struggles have raised awareness of the challenges in tennis and beyond that put players in the spotlight.

Osaka’s generation seems more attuned to that conflict and more willing to make concessions to it. One of the shifts is to avoid judgment.

“There’s always a context and there’s always something that happens behind the scenes,” said Daria Abramowicz, 20, a sports psychologist who works with Polish tennis star Inga Swietek and other elite athletes. “Even if you have a platform to speak on, it doesn’t mean you always need to use it. I think it is one of the big challenges of living in the internet age for all people. But the game is a kind of magnifying glass. It’s easy to form an opinion, but it’s not always good to do it without context or data, because it can be very harmful.”

Abramowicz, who was Consultation Long before winning last year’s French Open, Said said it was more important to prepare the athletes than to help them cope after they have come.

“I also think we often prepare athletes for loss, how to deal with it and deal with it, but when you reach your top level and achieve success, we don’t do enough to prepare them. do,” she said.

Abramowicz is encouraged to see more athletes, including tennis stars such as Russia’s Daniil Medvedev at Wimbledon and Tunisia’s Ons Jabur, work openly with sports psychologists and mental coaches.

But she thinks that everyone who is in regular contact with sportspersons needs to be better educated about mental health.

“All stakeholders ranging from coaches to physiotherapists to journalists to former players who work for the media platform,” she said. “After Roland Garros, I have already noticed a difference in the way WTA media staff and players are approached after the match. They are asking about their well being and asking if they are comfortable doing post-match press feel and when might be the best time to do so. So we have changes.”

Following Radukanu’s retirement on Monday, John McEnroe, a former player working as an analyst for the BBC, said he felt bad for him and that the experience appeared to be “a little too much, as understood Comes.” his comments attracted Criticism of Judy MurrayMILF Andy Murray’s Mother, and others Being speculative, Radukanu himself was coming before he could speak.

The youngest, least experienced players deserve the most considerate treatment. 1 court in the prime-time television slot, might not have been the wisest or most sympathetic move. Nor was it convinced to read a story in the British news media on the morning of her fourth-round match, which predicted that Radukanu could be among the top three earners in women’s tennis if she “maintains her form.” can keep.”

It seemed premature at best, disastrous at worst.

“I think it’s irresponsible to go so quickly into the realm of the fantasy,” Petty said. “We as part of the media are unwise to learn from history. To say that the shoulders of an 18-year-old girl rest on her development as a human being is completely unhelpful. Because that’s basically what you’re doing.” He is setting the bar so high that anything other than having more than one Grand Slam champion constitutes a failure.”

Hopefully Radukanu missed that piece as he and his team did their best to keep him in the moment.

“I haven’t spent that much time on my phone, checking any news,” she said Tuesday. “We’ve just been in our bubble, doing our job, focused on the process, doing everything that’s in our power and control to prepare ourselves for the match ahead.”

It was a match she was unable to finish, but the reassuring thing is that the next time she plays at Wimbledon, she will have firsthand knowledge of what she needs to do.

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