Indian Wells: Emma Raducanu prepares for first match as US Open champion

Emma Raducanu, a British woman, became the first to win a Grand Slam singles title at the US Open last month.
Keep your head down, be grateful, and learn to say no. This advice comes from Emma Raducanu, who has a good understanding of what it is like to be Emma Raducanu right at this moment.

Raducanu, who is just one month shy of her 19th Birthday, is about to play her first match in the US Open title match.

On Friday night, she will face Aliaksandra Ssnovich, world number 100. She will play in the 16,000-capacity center court at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.

Bianca Andreescu was 19 and Iga Swaiatek was 19.

Since winning the 2019 US Open, Andreescu has had to deal with injuries and bad luck. Swiatek has moved up from 17th to fourth in the rankings since becoming the French Open champion in October 2020.

Andreescu said that she would always be grateful, even when you have the greatest successes. She is currently defending her Indian Wells title two and a quarter years ago.

"It was getting hurt two months later. It was very difficult. It was hard to enjoy it. That's the one thing that I regret.

Don't let it get too far in your head. Keep your head up, but be confident.

"Keep humble, be grateful, and work hard. Everyone says it's easy for you to reach the top, but the hardest part is staying there.

Andreescu won just one Grand Slam match since winning in New York in 2019 until her run to last month's fourth round at the US Open.

Swiatek is, however, about to finish a very successful year as a Grand Slam Champion. The Pole won two WTA titles and reached at most the fourth round in all Grand Slams this year.

Although she seems to have taken the fame and expectations in stride, it can sometimes be overwhelming at times.

She said, "It's hard when your only one year on tour, but suddenly you have this huge success," when she appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But what was most important to me was having supportive people around me. Even though they weren't experts in dealing with Grand Slam champions they knew exactly what to do.

"If I was all alone, I don’t think I could have done it so well."

Swiatek believes that there are things she could improve on in the future. She would like to find a way for people to say no sometimes.

She continued, "I'm terrible at this."

"I try to be assertive at times, but when people ask for autographs, I can spend 10 minutes signing balls. Then suddenly, I see on Twitter that 'Oh, Iga' is too nice.

"But the problem is that I can't answer no. I need to learn this."

Raducanu is in Indian Wells, but she does not have a coach. With the challenge of playing regularly on the WTA Tour, Raducanu made the decision to end her US Open-winning partnership and friendship with Andrew Richardson.

It does mean that Raducanu, 18, is no longer able to rely on her parents for support as she adjusts to being a Grand Slam champion. It can be lonely on tour, and Raducanu is yet to make lasting friendships.

According to the new world number 22, she hasn't sought advice from Swiatek or Andreescu. She doesn't like to think about how things could change and prefers to keep the same spirit and mind that won her the title in New York.

She said, "I don't want to change anything."

"What brought me to this point was not thinking differently. If I add more thoughts to my head, that will only create a problem. I think.

"So, I'm going to continue doing my business and keeping the same. I haven’t thought about leaving the team yet. I've been focusing on my game, and what I need to do.

"If I was to seek advice, it wouldn’t be right now, I believe."