Emma Raducanu should be going to therapy to ‘search her own soul’ and ‘find out what she wants in life’, tennis legend Billie Jean King has advised.
The American former tennis champion said she hoped 19-year-old Raducanu is given space and time ‘to breathe’, as she suggested she would be open to working with the young British player.
Raducanu, who shot to fame at the 2021 US Open when she became the first singles qualifier to win a Grand Slam title, suffered injuries and a loss of form in recent months amid the growing pressures of the spotlight.
The rising star has struggled on her first full season of the WTA Tour, pulling out of the Transylvanian Open in Cluj-Napoca last month and withdrawing from the British squad for next week’s Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow. The British No 1 has also dropped to 76th in the WTA rankings having made it into the top 10 in July.
Speaking ahead of the finals of her namesake tournament, King said Raducanu needs to ‘find the right person to talk to’.
She said: ‘First of all, you can’t pay attention to what anyone says about you. And don’t take anything personally. That has served me well in life.
‘But then you’ve got to find the right person to talk to. And that’s the hard part because everyone has an opinion. I think it’s more important to ask the right questions.
‘It’s like psychotherapy, which I’ve done years of. The thing they do so well is they don’t tell you what to do. You just start to hear yourself saying what you should or could do.’
King, 78, was a pioneering figure in women’s tennis, winning 39 major titles and founding the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
She is well known for wining, at age 29, the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs.
She suggested she would be open to working with Raducanu, telling The Times: ‘I’ve helped several players over the years — probably not the young ones now because I don’t think that they connect, that they could talk to me and we could work through stuff. But I’d have to ask her a lot of questions first.
‘What’s important to her? The answers are really important.’
Raducanu has been focussing on strengthening her body for the rigours of the tour under the tutelage of Andy Murray’s former trainer Jez Green.
Her next scheduled event is set for Abu Dhabi on December 16 in a pre-season exhibition.