Is Raducanu a One Slam Wonder?
There seems to be a lot of hype around Emma Raducanu after her incredible run to the 2021 US Open title.
As usual, the news media tend to exaggerate the moment with headlines like “A Star is Born” or “The Next Serena is Here.” However, people forget that we’ve been here before. This is not the first time we see someone win their first Grand Slam and expect many more to come, only for them to go on and have good careers and never win again. Let’s look at some of the one slam wonders.
Sabatini won the US Open at age 20. Although at 20 years old she was very established, many thought this breakout would be the beginning of a Grand Slam haul for her. It was not to be. This would be her first and last Grand Slam. However, that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a storied career. She would finish in the top 10 ten years in a row and participate in two additional Grand Slam finals and numerous semifinals and quarterfinals at Grand Slams.
Martinez was another fabulous player that won her only Grand Slam title at age 22 never to win another slam again. No matter though, like Sabatini she participated in two additional Grand Slam finals. Additionally, she finished the year in the top 10 nine times. Not a bad career if I may say so.
Since winning the 2017 French Open in stunning fashion at 19 years of age and finishing world number seven that year, Ostapenko has been an average player on the WTA tour. She’s finished ranked #44 in both 2019 and 2020, and the results don’t seem to be getting any better. Will she fade away or continue to fight on? I predict she will fight on and play for a few more years. However, it’s doubtful that another slam is in the cards.
When Ivanovic won her first Grand Slam at 20 years of age at the 2008 French Open, she had already participated in two previous Grand Slam Finals, and she had finished 2007 as the number four player in the world. It seemed like she was going to dominate the WTA for years to come. It was not to be. Aside from a resurgence to the top 10 in 2014, Ivanovic would spend most of her career hovering between #13 and #22 in the world.
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Sue Barker won only one slam and Jana Novotna the same. It could be said that Sue was a shade fortunate to win one and that Jana was unlucky to win only one. Emma will set her sights particularly on Wimbledon this year. If she makes it to the quarter finals we will know that we have an exceptional talent and if she doesn’t she can still do well later. One mistake however was to dump her first two coaches after they had brought her exceptional results. Who on earth advised her to do this?