Emma Raducanu responds to crushing Rybakina loss and reveals plan before Australian Open

Emma Raducanu wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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Emma Raducanu has commented on her emphatic loss after winning just one game in her first match of the season. The 19-year-old was defeated by ninth seed Elena Rybakina 6-0 6-1 in under an hour on Tuesday. Raducanu revealed she went straight to the practice court after a tough day on serve and will hold detailed talks with her coach this week as they plan for the upcoming Australian Open.

Raducanu was set to start her season at one of the two WTA 250 tournaments in last week’s Melbourne Summer Set but withdrew and opted to take an extra week for practice after having some of her pre-season preparations derailed by a positive Covid test.

She was then drawn to play world No 8 and 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek in her first match of the season but the Pole withdrew from the Sydney Tennis Classic and was replaced by Elena Rybakina in her seeded position.

The world No 13 came to Sydney fresh off a run to the final in Adelaide and continued her impressive form against the young Brit, needing just 56 minutes to dispatch Raducanu in the first round.

The US Open champion struggled on serve, winning just 13 per cent of points on her second serve and hitting six costly double faults in the match.

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She won just one game in the match, with Rybakina overpowering Raducanu to seal a 6-0 6-1 victory in the WTA 500 event.

The defeat is a nightmare start to Raducanu’s first full season on the pro tennis tour and means she will not have any more competitive matches before the upcoming Australian Open, but speaking after the match, the Bromley local said she wasn’t beating herself up over the result.

“I think that I will brush this off,” she admitted in her post-match press conference.

“Because for me, like, just getting out there, playing points, yesterday was pretty much like my second time playing competitive points for like two months, even in practice.”

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The world No 18 also said she was aiming not to dwell on negative results as one of her goals for her first full season on the tour, adding: “I think one of my goals is not to get too down or too high. It’s to just try and keep a steady progress and tracking upwards hopefully.”

Raducanu revealed that she headed straight to the practice courts after her emphatic loss, working on her serve after struggling with it throughout the match.

“After the match I gota box of balls and went straight to the practice court,” the US Open champion said.

“I felt like I could have done some things better in the match, and I wanted to try and fix it straight away, just leave with a better feeling about it.

Explaining her decision to return to the practice courts after her night session defeat, the recent BBC SPOTY winner added: “I definitely feel like today my first-serve percentage was pretty low and there was quite a few double faults scattered around.

“I was just tidying that up and doing a few of those. And then a bit of movement, just getting a good feeling of the shape on the ball, and that was it really. I just wanted to tick everything over and leave with a good feeling about things.”

The match also marked Raducanu’s first with her new coach Torben Beltz – the German who led Angie Kerber to two of her three Major titles and the world No 1 ranking – and she spoke about their plans to prepare for the upcoming Australian Open.

“So, yeah, we went on court. Then afterwards, I mean, he obviously said Rybakina played a great match. She wasn’t missing very much.

“But, yeah, there were a few things we are going to chat more in detail about tomorrow and then work on leading up to next week.”

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