Emma Raducanu and The Pursuit of Normality

Emma Raducanu Wimbledon
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LONDON – When exiting the Wimbledon train station, the image of Emma Raducanu is omnipresent.

The campaign of a famous brand of mineral water dresses the façade of a store with the stunning figure of the most desired tennis player by the advertising industry.

In the next corner her image stands out again. Bigger and more imposing. On the glass walls of a British multinational banking and financial services company she looks ready to perform a service, or with her eyes fixed on her opponent.

Emma Raducanu in a marketing image in the streets of Wimbledon // SEBASTIÁN VARELA NAHMÍAS

In different industries her image rights have been immensely sought after. Mobile companies, sportswear, fashion, airlines and cars. So irresistible has she been since she rose to fame, that even without major (or medium) successes on the tennis court in almost three years, the 21-year-old tennis player has remained at top positions of the list of sportswomen with the highest turnover.

An impressive paradox. Her short career has been at opposite poles with an incomparable history: she won ten matches in a row in New York to become the 2021 US Open champion from the qualifiers; she did not play in any other final and had to struggle with multiple injuries and ended up having surgery on both wrists.

If Raducanu already tasted what is arguably the ultimate achievement in tennis and also knew a very tragic condition (isn’t having both hands immobile the worst drama for a tennis player?), now the former world number 10 could be just been chasing normality.

Something like “being a top 30 player who competes on tour most weeks,” proposed journalist Giri Nathan in The Second Serve: “A level she could easily reach with the talent she has”.

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She is doing it with Centre Court at her disposal. Back at the All England Club after two years she overcame Renata Zarazua 7-6 (7-0), 6-3. The Mexican received good and surprising news on Monday’s morning: Yekaterina Aleksandrova withdrew due to injury and she became the Lucky Looser to jump into the most important stadium in tennis.

“If I get past the first round, I’ll be on the moon,” Raducanu said on Saturday. She would need to come back to Earth soon as in Round 2 she faces Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

Emma Raducanu for Evian

“I think I’m in a good moment. Last year I did a lot of work at the end of the year to get healthy. I have continued that work throughout this year. I feel good in my body. I have no doubts,” said Raducanu. Surprisingly, the major champion beat a top ten player for the first time a couple of weeks before Wimbledon (in Eastbourne, against Jessica Pegula). Another record in her atypical trajectory.

Raducanu has enough money in her account to make several generations millionaires, although she has not established long-term bonds of trust with a coaching team.

She has a sports accomplishment with which anyone would be happy to retire, although she has not played finals on the tour since then.

She is the owner of an everlasting fame, but has not been able to participate in the various tours offered by the circuit on a regular basis and depends on invitations to play tournaments.

In 2024 she might be finding the way that leads her to a normal life of a tennis player.

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