Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Emma Radukanu says Nike ad ‘speaks for itself’ as she responds to critics ahead of Australian Open

Emma Radukanu poked fun at the superlatives around her in an edgy ad on the eve of the Australian Open and now hopes her tennis can do the talking at Melbourne Park.

In promotion of his sponsors Nike, a sharp Radukanu hits the balls while words like ‘distract’, ‘perfect’, ‘fluke’ and ‘one-hit wonder’ follow him.

It’s been hard to find perspective after the teenager’s fairy-tale US Open victory, with projections of world domination, as well as accusations of focusing too much on off-court activities, when she immediately clinched the title in her first stages. Failed to support on the WTA Tour.

Emma Radukanu hits back at the superlatives surrounding her in an ad ahead of the Australian Open

Speaking at her pre-tournament press conference in Australia, the 19-year-old couldn’t hide a smile as she said of the ad: ‘I think the video speaks for itself. makes me think so. That’s it, full stop.

The 2022 season started on an unlucky start for Radukanu when she won just one game against Elena Rybakina at the Sydney Tennis Classic earlier this week.

But the key caveat was that the British number one had only returned to full training after a bad spell of coronavirus, which kept him off the court for three weeks.

She has been training at Melbourne Park with new coach Torben Beltz and is hopeful that she will be able to do better in a very tough first round match against former US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Tuesday.

In Nike ad, Radukanu hits balls while key words like 'fluke' flash behind him

In a Nike ad, Radukanu hits the balls while key words like ‘fluke’ flash behind him

The 19-year-old was criticized by some for taking his eyes off the ball after winning the US Open

The 19-year-old was criticized by some for taking his eyes off the ball after winning the US Open

Radukanu, seeded 17th, said: ‘It’s a challenge to try and find the balance of getting out there and wanting to practice straight after coming out of isolation, but not if you can do nothing for 20 days. After hours of overdoing it you always end up taking small swallows.

‘In the first week I was not able to practice that much. But, Sydney, after the match, it was good to see where I was at that time. Afterwards, I went out on the practice court to speed things up a few times.

‘I really feel like progress is being made. I just want to see that I’m getting a little better and that I feel better. I feel I am slowly getting there.

This will be her fifth tournament since the US Open and she has managed only two wins in the last four, having lost her first match three times.

The inconsistency is to be expected given Radukanu’s inexperience, demonstrated by the fact that she lost in the juniors’ first round at her last appearance at Melbourne Park three years ago, 12 months before she watched the tournament on TV was because he had prepared for his A. Level.

The teenager knows she has a big goal on her bag as a Grand Slam champion, but she’s trying to lighten the load.

‘I think because of the last few months, maybe I didn’t play as much as I wanted to and I was trained so much,’ she said.

‘I feel like there’s really no pressure on me. I feel like I’m happy to be here and swing. I had to overcome some hurdles to play here, so I just want to go out there and have fun and enjoy myself on the court.

Raducanu prepares for his opening match at the 2022 Australian Open on Tuesday

Raducanu prepares for his opening match at the 2022 Australian Open on Tuesday

‘I would say the biggest challenge is to be patient. I am a little perfectionist. Be it practice, whether it’s off the court, I want to be the best at all times. Sometimes it’s not very practical.

‘I just need to rest. As long as the trend is in an uptrend, just a matter of small ups and downs, I think I can be proud. Whatever be the challenge, I am ready to face it now.

Stephens has had a tumultuous career, reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open nine years ago at age 19, only to win the US Open title due to a drop in rankings due to a combination of poor form and injury. Continuing in 2017

She has a tough first round match against former US Open winner Sloane Stephens

She has a tough first round match against former US Open winner Sloane Stephens

She is back in the rankings at 68 and is playing her first tournament of the season after marrying footballer Jozy Altidore in Florida on New Year’s Day.

Stephens remains a dangerous opponent, however, and usually rises to the occasion in big matches, beating Petra Kvitova, Madison Keys, Coco Gauff and Karolina Pliskova at the Slams last season.

Radukanu said, ‘I have seen Sloane win the US Open. ‘I really hit with him last year. Obviously you can’t win a Grand Slam without being very capable.

‘I think it’s definitely going to be a tough match. I am going to go there and enjoy the match because I had to work so hard to be here to play in this Grand Slam.

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