Emma Raducanu is focused on tennis ahead of her return to Wimbledon, not her big commercial deals, sponsorship and branding work.
It was the statement of her agent who insisted the US Open champion would not be distracted on her SW19 comeback, with the British No.1 finding out about her opponent in the first round.
Raducanu – now Britain’s No. 1 and world No. 11 – will make just his second appearance at Wimbledon this year, having made his Grand Slam debut in the 2021 championship.
Entering as a late wildcard, an 18-year-old – who had passed her A-Levels two months previously – reached the fourth round, becoming the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the Open Era.
She withdrew from that fourth-round match due to breathing difficulties, but came back from that disappointment in July to shatter expectations again in September and win the US Open title without dropping a set.
That stunning victory at Flushing Meadows catapulted Raducanu to global superstardom, but the youngster enjoyed more success off the tennis court than on it in the months that followed.
Raducanu is seen as one of the most salable names in sport, and not just in Britain, with the 19-year-old now a brand ambassador for nine companies including Tiffany, Nike, Evian and HSBC – with those signings. worth tens of millions of pounds. .
On the pitch, however, things have been less profitable, having won just eight of their 19 games this season.
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Injuries have been a problem, and her busy commercial job has led to criticism that the young tennis ace is distracted from her sport.
Raducanu discovered her first-round opponent in Friday morning’s Wimbledon draw, with the young Briton set to face 28-year-old Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.
And agent Max Eisenbud insisted Raducanu was fully focused on tennis ahead of the tournament, revealing the limitations of his commercial work which ‘left millions of dollars on the table’.
“We could have done 50 days of shooting,” Eisenbud – who has also worked with Maria Sharapova and Li Na – told the Sports Desk podcast.
“I have never seen so much excitement and companies wanting to do business with Emma after the US Open.
“It has been a difficult year. I think she had a lot of bad luck and what really hurt her was [catching] COVID and not having a good off season, and then she caught up.
“But I think if she had no shooting date, everything would be the same.
“I know from the outside that you want to watch all these things – but if she locked herself in the room for the whole year and did nothing, I think it would be the same thing.”
The agent’s work with Sharapova and Na has influenced how he and Raducanu’s family handle his workload off the pitch, claiming they follow similar rules to those they established with the Russian star – who also rose to stardom with a Grand Slam as a teenager. , winning Wimbledon aged just 17 in 2004.
“It’s the same philosophy,” Eisenbud explained. “Never a week or so before a tournament, never during a tournament week and never right after the tournament.
“I understand that people who don’t understand this philosophy might think it’s distracting, but I think when you see how it’s presented, it really isn’t.
“Emma decided that she wanted to start her shoots at 12 or 1 p.m. and go until 8 or 9 p.m. and have the option in the morning to practice, work out or do fitness.
“Not all days have been used from the 18th. There are sponsors who have these days, but many of them do not use them.
“I imagine that by the end of the year, the number of days she will use will be around 13.
“But when the 19th day comes around, and it’s millions of dollars and you have to say ‘no’ because you’re true to the 18 days – it’s tough.”
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