Saturday 6 July 2024

Emma Raducanu has seen a sports psychologist and it is working well

For the past six months I've been criticising Emma Raducanu because she's simply not shown the right mental approach to top-standard professional tennis. She found excuses for not winning and I believe that she suffered from anxiety which resulted in a kind of hypochondria about her physical well-being. She had many physical ailments and on one occasion was breathless. Anxiety, I say. 

I put it down to the pressure of expectation on her performance following her unique 2021 US Open win. The pressure of expectation from the public and commenters can be very burdensome and intolerable.


Update next day 7th July 2024, playing Lulu Sun. Emma lost in 3 sets because she was expected by all to win because Sun is a qualifier. The pressure was back on her and she didn't play quite so well or with the same level of freedom she employed in beating Sakkari (ranked as high as 3 recently) in the previous match. Raducanu suffers in my opinion with expectation management problems and other emotional issues and her sports psychologist I am pretty sure is working on that. But her performance against Sun shows us that Raducanu's mental issues are deep seated.
Raducanu needed treatment on her left knee after a fall in the third set but the real story of this match was her timid approach and Sun's fearless play. She hit 52 winners - with Rafael Nadal-like whipped forehand hurting Raducanu more than her slip on the grass. -- Daily Express. She lost her boldness and her frailties returned. It is inherent in her. She fluked the 2021 win. Got lucky.

Emma Raducanu has seen a sports psychologist and it is working well
Emma Raducanu has seen a sports psychologist and it is working well. Image: MikeB

The world No. 9 used her pre-match press conference to remind Raducanu that she was facing a top-10 player ahead of their third-round Wimbledon clash. But that didn't bother the Brit, who needed 92 minutes to pull off the upset and beat Sakkari 6-2 6-3. - Daily Express newspaper today 6th July 2024.
But, at the moment, she is playing at Wimbledon 2024 and doing remarkably well. She has recaptured that energy and joie de vivre in playing tennis. She is playing aggressively and boldly. That is the kind of tennis she employed when she won the 2021 U.S. Open. I can remember Tim Henman, who was on the side lines during the final, encouraging her to continue to be bold in her play. It's that kind of boldness and freedom of playing which can be highly successful and certainly was in her case.

It's about not thinking too much about the game. It's about letting one's natural talents and instincts take over. It's getting into the "zone" as the experts call it. When things just flow and your body takes over and the brain is pushed out of the equation. You don't want to think too much when you play professional sport as the brain can get in the way.

And I strongly sense that Emma Raducanu has been seeing a top sport psychologist to rectify what I would see as an incorrect mentality as a top tennis professional. Her mentality now seems to be good. Sport psychologists can work wonders. There are no hard reports to support my assertion but I am certain that she has altered her mentality through the services of a good sports psychologist.

Jannik Sinner has seen a sport psychologist and his game improved substantially. In fact, the default situation regarding a team of experts supporting top professional sportsmen should include a sport psychologist. This is the norm now. It is not exceptional although it was once in the past.

It is a recognition of the fact that sport psychology is vital to success. The attitude, mental approach, confidence and mental well-being of a sports person is vital to their success in their profession. It's as important as the mechanics of the serve or the mechanics of the forehand or backhand. It is as important as the footwork. There's the physical side to tennis and the mental side.

No matter how good you are physically and how talented you are, you will not win consistently and win championships without the correct mental approach.

I am hopeful, and I believe, that Emma Raducanu will now progress normally as she has deserved to do and start to win some competitions. She may even win Wimbledon this year but that would seem to be unlikely at present but certainly possible in the future. 

But with her mind freed of those unnecessary burdens - mental baggage - perhaps mainly through the pressure of expectation, she can now progress and it will be the first time this has happened since she won in 2021.

P.S. From Google Gemini:

There is no public confirmation that Emma Raducanu has worked with a specific sports psychologist. However, there is evidence that she likely has benefited from some form of mental training:

  • Sports psychology experts commenting on her game: Several sports psychologists have weighed in on Raducanu's performances in the media, discussing the mental challenges young athletes face and how those challenges might apply to her. This suggests that mental training is a recognized aspect of tennis at her level.
  • The importance of mental training in tennis: Tennis places significant mental demands on players, requiring focus, pressure management, and emotional control. It's common for professional tennis players to incorporate mental training into their routines.

Even without confirmation of a specific sports psychologist, it's likely that Raducanu receives some form of mental coaching as part of her overall training regimen.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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