JUDY MURRAY has shared two key pieces of advice for Emma Raducanu amid an injury-hit Wimbledon build-up.
Judy Murray claims that Emma Raducanu’s recurring injury woes are common for a player earning their stripes on the senior circuit, but questioned whether her raft of sponsorship deals have been beneficial for her development. The Brit was forced to retire from the Nottingham Open on Tuesday after suffering a side injury, which could put her upcoming Wimbledon campaign in jeopardy.
Emma Raducanu burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year, a tournament she entered as a wildcard and powered all the way to the last 16. Things have been up and down since, with a US Open triumph no doubt the highest of highs, but recurring injury problems have left her unable to find a rhythm since Flushing Meadows.
On Tuesday, the teenager had to bow out after just over half an hour of her first-round match against Viktorija Golubic due to a side injury. With fans concerned over whether the youngster will make it to SW19 later this month, Murray has urged her team to think carefully about how they handle Emma Raducanu’s young career.
“Emma Raducanu’s team will be mindful of all the savvy sponsorship deals and marketing campaigns she has astutely tapped into over the past eight months,” she wrote in The Telegraph. “They will no doubt bring her huge financial rewards, but at what cost to her body?
“I say this because as with most young players, it shouldn’t be a case of patching them up and preparing them for the next high-profile event just because a sponsor or a federation wants to ensure their branding is visible.
“I’ve seen it before – a sponsor might have a campaign to activate at the next slam, so they put pressure on the agent, who puts pressure on the coach, who in turn pressurises the fitness trainer to make sure the player is ready. But is that keeping the athlete’s best interests at heart?”
Since her dramatic introduction to the world stage, Emma Raducanu has banked high-profile sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, British Airways, Evian, Dior and Vodafone. Although impossible to tell whether the factors are directly linked, the youngster’s dramatic change in circumstances have coincided with three mid-match retirements since winning the US Open.
Judy Murray believes that becoming hardened to the demands of senior tennis ‘does not happen overnight’, and suggested that filling her team out with a greater female influence could give Emma Raducanu an edge in understanding her body and staying injury-free.
“I think there’s a particular point to be made here about female players such as Emma Raducanu having access to a specialist who understands the female body,” added Murray. “Last week, we saw China’s Qinwen Zheng – who at 19 is the same age as Emma Raducanu – candidly opened up about how her menstrual cramps played a role in her defeat to Iga Swiatek at the French Open.
“But the menstrual cycle and its impact on athletic performance is an area of sports science that has been woefully neglected and only now are we beginning to understand its impact on an athlete, both psychologically and physically.
“How many of today’s top female players, I wonder, are harnessing the peaks and troughs of their cycle and tailoring it to their training and performance? How many could feel more empowered by investing in a women’s health physio or specialist and making their entourage that bit more female-centric?”