Emma Raducanu’s unprecedented rise to the top of women’s tennis has led to brands queuing up to work with the British teenager.
However, tennis legend Virginia Wade has warned her not to let endorsement deals ‘turn her head’ amid this wave of global attention.
Raducanu was thrust into the limelight after she won this year’s US Open –– becoming the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam competition.
Despise being ranked almost 400th in the world at the beginning of the season, the 19-year-old ended 2021 inside the top 20 –– making her the new British number one.
But Wade believes the Brit’s surge to the top of women’s tennis has put a target on her back.
Speaking in an interview for the Radio Times, the former Wimbledon champion said: “There are an awful lot of very good players and she’s got a target on her now. They all desperately want to beat her.”
Since triumphing in New York, the Brit has landed brand deals with Dior, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, and is also sponsored by Nike.
However, Wade stressed that Raducanu’s focus should not be on matters away from the court and highlighted that these endorsements only came about because of being a good tennis player in the first place.
“Getting all these endorsements can turn these young players’ heads.
“You’ve got to remember you got [deals] because you’re a good tennis player, and not for any other reason.
“So you’d better stay being a good tennis player.”
While Wade has urged caution, she nonetheless believes Raducanu has what it takes to become an even better player later down the line.
“She’s very smart, intelligent, well-balanced, serious. She really applies herself. She problem-solves on the court.
“We don’t need to expect anything spectacular in the next few years. Give her a couple of good, steady, learning years.”
Raducanu’s remarkable 2021 season has now come to an end but she is scheduled to compete in next year’s Australian Open –– a tournament she has yet to play before.
It is likely the Brit will be seeded and with the first major of the year being on her favoured hard court surface, Raducanu will be keen to prove that her US Open victory was not a one-time thing.