Emma Raducanu Jokes About Australian Open Hype As Sloane Stephens Showdown Looms

Emma Raducanu poked fun at the hyperbole around her in a pointed advert on the eve of the Australian Open and now she hopes her tennis can do the talking at Melbourne Park.

In the promotion for her sponsors Nike an intense Raducanu hits balls while words like “distracted”, “perfect”, “fluke” and “one-hit wonder” flash up behind her.

Perspective has been hard to find in the aftermath of the teenager’s fairy-tale US Open triumph, with projections of world domination quickly followed by accusations of too much focus on off-court activities when she failed to immediately back up the title in her first steps on the WTA Tour.

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Speaking at her pre-tournament press conference in Australia, the 19-year-old could not hide a smile as she said of the advert: “I think the video speaks for itself. That’s how I feel. That’s it, full stop.”

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The 2022 season had an inauspicious start for Raducanu when she won just a single game against Elena Rybakina at the Sydney Tennis Classic earlier this week.

But the significant caveat was that the British number one had only just returned to full training after an ill-timed bout of coronavirus that kept her off court for three weeks.

She has been practising since at Melbourne Park with new coach Torben Beltz and is optimistic she will be able to perform better in what is a very tough first-round match against former US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Tuesday.

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Emma Raducanu with new coach Torben Beltz (Hamish Blair/AP) (AP)

Raducanu, who is seeded 17, said: “It’s a challenge to try and find the balance of wanting to get out there and practise so much straight after coming out of isolation but if you overdo it with the hours after not doing anything for 20 days you always start picking up small niggles.