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Australian Open: Emma Raducanu learning from problematic 2022

Despite a disappointing 12 months on the court, British tennis star Emma Raducanu remains one of the biggest names in the sport, and she will bid to kickstart her career again at the upcoming Australian Open in Melbourne.

The former world number 10 has declared that her short-term target is to win a title in 2023, and that is a sensible aim, with her last success coming at the 2021 US Open when she made history in a fairy-tale run in New York.

In 2022, she made just one semi-final from 19 different appearances, although that did come towards the end of the year at the Hana Bank Korea Open.

Raducanu's year was not made easy by having to deal with the worldwide media frenzy that has followed her since the autumn of 2021, along with a number of injury issues.

However, now a year older, stronger and wiser, the next 12 months could get her career right back on track.

Raducanu has proven big-stage liking

What: 2023 Australian Open 
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia 
When: Monday 16th January - Sunday 29th January, 2023 
How to watch: Discovery+, bet365's Sports Live Streaming 
Odds: Iga Swiatek 13/8, Caroline Garcia 12/1, Aryna Sabalenka 12/1, Ons Jabeur 12/1, Coco Gauff 16/1

Remarkably, the only title Raducanu has ever won came at the 2021 US Open, which has only increased the pressure on her shoulders.

The then 18-year-old was ranked 150th in the world and had to come through three qualifying matches before being able to enter the main draw. 

Still, she showed little sign of fatigue, nerves or inexperience as she beat Stefani Vogele, Zhang Shuai, Sara Sorribes Tormo, Shelby Rogers, Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari and then Leylah Fernandez in the final.

Raducanu proved herself to be a class above the rest of the field at Flushing Meadows as she went through the entire tournament, including qualifiers, without dropping a set as she became the first player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam as a qualifier in what was just the second major tournament of her career.

Her win in New York also saw her move into the top 25 in the world rankings, while she also became the new British number one.

Lessons to be learned

Her career has been on something of a downward spiral since her incredible win in New York. 

While a dip in form was expected, her lack of consistency has been a real issue.

Her 2022 campaign got off to a poor start at the Sydney International before she made her debut at the Australian Open as the 17th seed.

In the first round, she navigated her way past Sloane Stephens, but a problem with blisters on her racquet hand played its part in her defeat to Danka Kovinic in the second.

From there, numerous setbacks and perhaps her decision to continuously switch coaches have prevented her from rising to the top again, but at 20, she still has time on her side to turn things around.

Raducanu is a 33/1 shot to win a second Grand Slam in January, but if she has put her recent injury issues behind her, she could give punters a run for their money.

Raducanu sticking to her guns

Tennis greats like John McEnroe and Andy Murray have suggested that what may help Raducanu going forward is to adopt a one-coach policy, although the youngster appears set to continue with her current approach.

Ahead of the Australian Open, Raducanu has confirmed she will work with Sebastian Sachs on a short-term basis, with the German becoming her fifth coach in the last 18 months.

Raducanu has already worked with Andrew Richardson, Jeremy Bates, Torben Beltz and Dmitry Tursunov in the last few months, and she will hope her partnership with Sachs, who has previously worked with Victoria Azarenka, Belinda Bencic and Julia Gorges, can inspire her to climb the world rankings again.

Fitness the key

Arguably, the most important thing for Raducanu is her fitness, given her 2022 issues, and she needs to be able to get on the court on a regular basis.

There appear to be no qualms about her physical well-being going into the year's first Grand Slam, and the next few weeks will help demonstrate if Sachs is able to get the best out of her.

The 20-year-old will start her 2023 campaign in New Zealand at the ASB Classic, and she has recently been spending time in Singapore as she tries to acclimatise to conditions ahead of her quest for a second Grand Slam title later this month.

And as she tries to get on top of her 2022 injury troubles as well as enhance her 2023 chances, Raducanu has also employed Murray's former fitness coach Jez Green.

If she is able to eradicate her niggling health concerns and dedicate her focus solely on the action on the courts, who knows how far she can go in the sport?

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