Former British tennis player Tim Henman has urged everyone to be patient with Emma Raducanu.
Raducanu has won just two and lost four matches since her astonishing US Open run.
Raducanu, who tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-December, suffered a 6-0 6-1 loss to Elena Rybakina in the Sydney first round this week.
“She had a tough end to last year, she’s had Covid, she had to quarantine for 10 days, then when she came out she wasn’t really able to get started with training,” Henman told Eurosport.
“Then she flies to Australia, the jet lag, and the practice and she’s just trying to build from that. I think it’s important that everyone manages expectation, it’s a long year, she’s got a lot of great opportunities, and form’s temporary, class is permanent.
“She’s just trying to build, get more and more matches under her belt. We’ve seen what she’s capable of, so just need to stay patient, keep working hard and the good results will follow.”
Henman says Raducanu should be given time
Raducanu, 19, is set to play her first full season on the WTA Tour.
“The reality is she’s so new to all of this, and it is a steep learning curve,” Henman noted.
“I get asked all the time how good she’s going to be and she is a fantastic player, an enormous talent, a great athlete who’s got an amazing mindset, but I always think that the time to judge these young players is when they played every tournament twice.
“And you think in the context of Emma, she’s never played the French Open. So she will have played the French Open for a second time in 2023. That’s the time frame of really understanding how good she can and will be.”
Raducanu, who is set for an Australian Open debut, will be clashing Sloane Stephens in her opener at Melbourne Park.