Emma Raducanu has hit back at those who criticised her for signing multiple lucrative sponsorship deals. Since winning the US Open in 2021, the Brit has gone on to partner up with brands like Porsche, Dior and British Airways. And Raducanu slammed any suggestion that tennis was no longer her main priority.
Raducanu became an overnight sensation when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to lift a Grand Slam trophy. Aged just 18 at the time and ranked No 150 in the world, she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set at the 2021 US Open to be crowned the champion. The brand deals started pouring in following the Brit’s unprecedented achievement and she was invited to events like the Met Gala.
Now, Raducanu counts Porsche, Dior, British Airways, Tiffany & Co., Evian and HSBC among her impressive portfolio of sponsorship signings. But some of Raducanu’s haters have claimed that her brand deals have been the reason for her struggles for form since her US Open run, as the 20-year-old has dealt with multiple injury and illness setbacks and been unable to string together as many successive match wins.
The former world No 10 has fired back at her doubters with a defiant message, explaining that it was “totally okay” to think about the future while still prioritising her tennis. “You don’t really have overnight to learn to deal with everything that comes your way, I think that takes time,” Raducanu told BBC Radio 4’s Today show, addressing her instant superstardom after winning the US Open.
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“I think certain scenarios I’m still trying to get my bearings but I’d say overall I’m a lot better. I just feel like it’s part of my day now, part of my life. It’s not just tennis and fitness, it’s the other commercial sides as well.”
Raducanu has no qualms about the fact that the commercial opportunities had slotting themselves in alongside her tennis as commitments that she had to think about. She continued: “And that is totally okay because you have to think ahead about your life after your career is over and I think that a lot of the successful athletes would’ve said, ‘I wish maybe when I was younger I did think ahead a little bit.’
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“So I think that I have a lot of bandwidth and knowledge and learning and time. So I’m just curious about everything, every different world I can get into. But at the end of the day, tennis and training is my priority.”
Raducanu is currently planning to make her return next season after undergoing three different surgeries in May which sidelined her for the rest of the year. The Brit is yet to announce her first official tournament on the tennis circuit but she has signed up to the MGM Macau Tennis Masters exhibition next month where she faces Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.
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