Ajla Tomljanovic


Serena Williams ended her amazing career by losing to Ajla Tomljanović in the third round of the US Open. The world of tennis has lost her greatest. The match between Ajla Tomljanović and Serena Williams ended with many tears on the Arthur Ashe court in New York.

The US star tried to extend her career at least for a few days, but she did not succeed. The Australian won in three sets with a score of 7-5, 6-7, and 6-1. A great fighter, as she has always been, Serena saved five match points in the last game, although it was already evident that she was losing the match.

However, that fight shows that she never lost her passion for winning and that she tried to extend her career with maximum effort. Interestingly, it is the first match of Serena Williams’ career at the US Open that lasted over three hours.

And it will remain the only one, and she played 109 of them. The famous tennis player greeted the end of the match in tears. A few weeks ago, Serena revealed that the US Open was the last tournament of her career. As always, in New York, she had huge support from fans, and thanks to her she reached the third round, defeating Danka Kovinić and Anet Kontaveit.

Serena Williams tests her friend’s tennis skills: “below average!”

Serena is a great lover and user of social media. She recently starred in a fun conversation with her fans about her close friend Damarr Eddie.

Serena recently did a Q&A session on Instagram and came across the question of who is better at tennis, Eddie or Qai Qai. She replied: “We all know Qai Qai is much better not only in tennis but in everything else than Damrri!

Qai Qai is fantastic and Damrri is, you know, below average!” Qai Qai is a doll that will be the protagonist of the book Adventures of Qai Qai, which has received an extraordinary launch and is getting positive responses.

Emma Raducanu’s first Wimbledon since her US Open win is unlikely to be the place to temper expectations.

She is the British number one, a Grand Slam champion and an obvious candidate for a Centre Court billing.

The fact she has had struggles with injuries and has not settled on a coach will do nothing to tone down excitement levels – because that is not how it works at your home Grand Slam.

“Everything is about you as a British player at Wimbledon. How many newspapers, online sites, how many journalists are there,” former British number one Greg Rusedski told BBC Sport.

“We get very British-centric especially if there is someone who we think can win the title or has a chance to win the title.

“With Emma and what she has achieved, there is a huge expectation.”

So, how will she handle it and are we all – fans, media and her opponents – expecting too much?

Emma Raducanu

What a difference a year makes

A year ago a teenage British number 10 made her Wimbledon main-draw debut with minimum fuss on Court 18.

The wildcard’s fightback from 4-1 down to take the first set followed by a 6-0 second set was noted, but back then the media and public had bigger names to follow to give it too much thought.

By the end of the second round, this 18-year-old was the sole British woman left in the singles draw – by the end of the third, the only Briton full stop.

And so the spotlight turned firmly on Raducanu and the story of ‘A-level student to tennis star’ captured imaginations and headlines as she reached the fourth round.

Her run ended when she retired from her last-16 match against Ajla Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties, later saying that the “whole experience” of the whirlwind week had “caught up” her.

Just two months later came that implausible and magical US Open triumph, and with it the answer to how she handles the pressure of the big occasion.

But that was an event without expectation. She was a qualifier back then, but now she’s a top-10 seed.

Rusedski urged patience from all watching her at Wimbledon: “Let’s give her time. This time is going to be the hardest.”

How is her fitness?

emma raducanu

Since her US Open triumph, EMMA Raducanu has had three mid-match retirements as a series of niggles have hampered her during what is her first full year on the WTA tour.

She struggled with a blister on her racquet hand in her Australian Open second-round defeat in January, retired with a leg injury in an opening-round match in Mexico in February, was bathing her blistered feet in surgical spirit at a Billie Jean King Cup tie in April and had a back issue in Madrid in May.

She also had Covid towards the end of last year, while her Wimbledon build-up has been less than ideal after a side strain forced her to retire just seven games into her opening match in Nottingham. She then withdrew from Birmingham because of the issue and did not play at Eastbourne.

She has previously said her physical issues were frustrating and that she was doing everything she could to overcome them.

It is very possible that had her profile not rocketed because of the US Open success, the natural process of her body becoming more robust to cope with the rigours of tour life would not have attracted as much attention.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray’s mother Judy pointed out earlier this month that her son had “a number of recurring physical problems” when moving up from the juniors to the main tour.

In a piece in The Daily Telegraph, she wrote: “In particular, he suffered from a lot of cramping. His body was perfectly ready for the demands of the lower rungs of the circuit but not necessarily for the heavier hitting, the longer, more rigorous rallies and stronger opponents he came up against on the Tour.

“What’s becoming increasingly clear is that Raducanu’s body needs time to mature.”

Is her ranking a real reflection of her form?

If you took off the 2,000 rankings point she won at the US Open, her ranking would be 60-something in the world rather than 11.

Clearly she won those points – and in brilliant fashion – but they have elevated her to a position that could be seen as higher than what the rest of her results would suggest is her ‘natural’ ranking.

She has not won three matches in a row since her New York triumph and her two Grand Slam tournaments since then – the Australian and French Opens – have ended in the second round.

With the ranking, comes not just the expectation from the public but also from the other players.

“It’s different when you are someone who may have a target on their back,” Raducanu, who was ranked 338 going into last year’s Wimbledon, said earlier this year.

“Everyone raises their game, wants to play well, wants to beat you, take you out. That’s something I have definitely kind of learned on the tour this year and just accepted that.”

Are off-court activities taking up too much time?

Raducanu’s agent, Max Eisenbud, doesn’t think she is being overburdened by commercial demands. He told the BBC’s Sports Desk podcast that IMG had “left million of dollars off the table” by limiting her to a maximum of 18 sponsor days a year.

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open as a 19-year-old, can relate to Raducanu and the whirlwind that she is still in as she features on magazine front covers, is invited to glitzy events and fills her Instagram page with plugs for the nine big brands with which she has got sponsorship deals.

With a Grand Slam title comes the off-court opportunities – some lucrative, some glamourous, all time-consuming.

“The good thing is everyone knows you back home and everyone is looking at you as an idol,” Ostapenko, 25, told BBC Sport.

“But the tough thing was just to get used to all this pressure, things change around you, everyone wants interviews, photo shoots all these things but you still need to practise at the same time.

“So it was really hard to get used to it and also everybody expecting you to win every tournament.

“I needed some time to get used to it. I think I was not ready to win a Grand Slam at that early age because it’s a dream of every tennis player and when you achieve it at the age of 19 you maybe also lose a little bit of motivation.”

Tracy Austin, who won the US Open as a 16-year-old in 1979, said she felt like she was “being pulled” by all the new demands.

“My world went upside down because two days later I was on every morning show in the United States, I was getting contracts thrown at me,” the American told the Sports Desk.

“I was still a teenager and everybody was trying to consume every part of my day, and I just wanted to be a kid and I just wanted to play tennis.”

Emma Raducanu said last year that she would never cancel a training or practice session for any off-court commitments, but she may still find she gets asked if her time is being squeezed too much.

Emma Raducanu

Does it matter that she hasn’t got a coach?

Raducanu has been unable to settle on a coach over the past year.

Nigel Sears was replaced by Andrew Richardson after last year’s Wimbledon, but Richardson’s contract was not renewed despite Raducanu’s success in New York.

Torben Beltz was appointed in November but they parted ways in April. The LTA’s head of women’s coaching Iain Bates has been working with Raducanu since then.

Two-time US Open champion Austin suggested it might be good for Raducanu to possibly stick with one for a bit longer while she tries to navigate the sudden rise in her profile and ranking.

“There is so much you have to contend with,” she said.

“You need a really good team around you that includes your family making sound decisions. Is this really important? Is this going to help me? Is this going to possibly derail my career?

“I think it would be beneficial for Emma to find someone that she is very comfortable with and stay with them for a bit of time so that you can make a list. What do we need to work on? Where are the deficiencies? Where are the strengths? I need to improve both of them and just get that comfort level personally.”

Emma Raducanu

Will she ever win another Grand Slam?

Of course no-one can possibly know the answer to that.

Serena Williams’ former coach Patrick Mouratoglou is among those to predict she can win a lot more major trophies but former British number one John Lloyd may have put it best during his BBC commentary at Queen’s last week:

“I don’t think she will be a one-Slam wonder – and if she is, so what? That’s pretty special too.”

EMMA RADUCANU was forced to retire from her Nottingham Open match with Viktorija Golubic.

Emma Raducanu is ‘unlikely’ to come back in time from injury to compete at Wimbledon later this month if she’s suffered an ‘acute abdominal strain’, according to Dr Ralph Rogers. The 19-year-old was returning to the tournament where she made her WTA Tour debut just a year ago before her whirlwind rise to superstardom.

Emma Raducanu kicks off
But the reigning US Open champion suffered a setback in her preparations for Wimbledon after having to retire midway through her match against Viktorija Golubic. Raducanu said after the match that it was “an absolute freak” of an injury where she felt she “pulled something”

“I cannot diagnose myself,” Emma Raducanu added. “I will get it checked out.” It’s the second time in a month where Emma Raducanu has had to retire midway through a match due to injury.

Questions have now been raised on whether she will be fit enough to make her second appearance at Wimbledon in just a few weeks. Dr Rogers, a consultant in regenerative orthopaedics and sports medicine and former first-team doctor at Chelsea Football Club, told the Daily Telegraph: “The only thing I can think about, having not seen it, is that it’s some sort of abdominal strain, an acute strain. Because that is how these things happen.”

When asked whether he felt Emma Raducanu would therefore be fit to feature at Wimbledon, Dr Rogers added: “Unlikely if it is that type of injury. If it’s this kind of strain, it most likely would not allow her to play, or would not allow her to play effectively.”

He added: “There’s a thing called the ‘Iceberg Principle’, which I refer to a lot when I talk to my patients. And what happens is, if you look at the tip of the iceberg just outside the water, it’s like, ‘I feel great’.

“If somebody injures themselves, after 10 days or whatever, they say, ‘I feel great’. But what happens is, underneath, the body’s still healing.

“And during that time, you still haven’t reconditioned, you still haven’t played your four-to-six hours of tennis, you still haven’t hit the ball. So, how effective will you be?”

Emma Raducanu became a household name at Wimbledon last year as she made it through to the second week of the major.

The teenager won in straight sets against Ajla Tomljanovic, Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea before taking on Vitalia Diatchenko in the fourth round. Despite putting up a strong fight in the first set, Emma Raducanu had to retire from the match after she had difficulty breathing.