Emma Raducanus toughest 2022 obstacle explained by Pat Cash – EXCLUSIVE

Emma Raducanu wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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Emma Raducanu has all the weapons to win another Grand Slam but Wimbledon will be her toughest challenge of all, predicts former champion Pat Cash. Cash has no issues over the suitability of her game for grass-court tennis – or any other surface for that matter – but believes the spotlight on the US Open champion will be counter-productive at her home event. Raducanu pulled out of last year’s Wimbledon mid-match with breathing difficulties.

“Emma Raducanu is a top player. Her challenge is to prove she can win big again and that she’s not a one-trick pony,” said Cash, who now coaches Chinese No 1 Qiang Wang.

“The good thing for her is that because she has no obvious technical weaknesses her game is less likely to break down under pressure. She is a good athlete as well.

“But I always found it easier to win big tournaments outside Australia. At home there was way more pressure.

“New York was the total opposite of Wimbledon for her in terms of pressure and expectation.

“Going forward she has to try to mimic what she did in New York but she might find that easier to do away from Wimbledon.”

Next month’s Australian Open will be Raducanu’s first Grand Slam since her fairytale in New York which propelled her to Sunday night’s triumph at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

She will go into it in a unique position according to top mind coach Don MacPherson.

“I would say in the 30+ years I have been doing mind coaching in various sports – Formula One, snooker, golf, football, rugby, tennis – I have never seen anyone rise so quickly,” he said.

“Her sudden incredible fame from winning the US Open is even bigger now after Sports Personality.

“I was lucky enough to work with Damon Hill, who won it twice, and I don’t think winning that will add extra pressure. It’s something to enjoy and it’s a reward. The extra pressure will come with trying to do what she did at the US Open again.

“Can she deal with the pressure going forwards? In my opinion yes but there will be some turbulence in the next few tournaments as she tries to live up to her billing.”

The specific psychological test for Raducanu as she joins the women’s tour for the first time in 2022 will be doing so as a grand slam champion already.

“She will hear the monkey in her head at the next grand slam say: ’how the hell did you do that? Was it a fluke? Do you deserve to be here?’ Imposter syndrome. Her inner dialogue, her monkey chatter, will be something she has to deal with or get help from a mind coach to deal with,” said MacPherson, whose new book ‘How to Master Your Monkey Mind’ deals with the subject.

“Emma has to be very careful who she surrounds herself with. In my book there is a chapter on accidental mind coaches – the people around you who offer advice. She seems well balanced but her parents, her coach, her physio, her agent – they all need to be very careful what they say to her especially close to a tournament because when humans are stressed they take what they hear into their subconscious. They believe what they are hearing.

“If I were her mind coach I would tell her to reduce her social media use close to tournaments dramatically and to pace herself mentally – look after your brain every bit as you would do your body.”

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