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Emma Raducanu ‘still has a lot to learn’, warns Sloane Stephens

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-01-19

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Sloane Stephens appeared to question Emma Raducanu ’s on-court behaviour and said the 19-year-old “still has a lot to learn” after the pair’s first-round match at the Australian Open .

Raducanu emerged victorious after a volatile match in which she blitzed the first set in just 17 minutes before being broken three times on her own serve in the second. However, as the momentum threatened to turn against her, Raducanu recovered brilliantly to dominate the deciding set.

Speaking to the media after the match, though, Stephens seemed to suggest that some of Raducanu’s behaviour had been a little theatrical.

“Everyone saw after the first point she gave like a massive scream,” Stephens said. “She played me, someone she’s ranking-wise supposed to beat. And, I mean, yeah, she won.”

Stephens, who was once ranked as high as No 3 in the world but has suffered from long spells of inconsistency, also warned that Raducanu’s upward trajectory could dip before long.

“Because she is so young it’s definitely a long road, so there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. I think she, yeah, has just a lot to learn,” Stephens added.

“I was talking to someone in the locker room and I’m like, ‘We’ll be here when she comes down’,” Stephens said, before quickly clarifying: “Not Emma but just in general. It all is like a cycle, and I think learning how to deal with it early on is the best way to handle it. Just because there’s always a lot of ups and downs in tennis.”

Raducanu, who will face Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic in the second round, said she took inspiration from Andy Murray ’s exhausting five-set thriller against Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Tuesday.

“I was, actually [watching his match], because when I was in the third set, I thought ‘Andy was up a set. And then he got pushed to five. But he fought back so hard in the fifth set and took the decider.’

“So when I went to three [sets] I was also thinking ‘Actually, I can fight back and win the decider.’ You know, fight like he did. So I was definitely inspired by him.”

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