Boris Becker has backed Emma Raducanu to become a “genuine superstar”, but suggested that the British teenager should alter her plans after a second-round exit at the Australian Open.
Raducanu, struggling with a painful blister on her right hand, was beaten by Montenegrin Danka Kovinic in three sets in Melbourne.
The 19-year-old was making her debut at the event in her first Grand Slam since securing a remarkable victory at the US Open, but endured a disrupted, uneven build-up after contracting Covid and losing in the first round of the Sydney International.
She has since indicated that she may take some time to focus on building up her strength in training, but Becker has urged Raducanu to play more tournaments to aid her development and avoid a repeat of her painful early exit in Australia.
“I remain a big fan of Emma Raducanu and am still convinced that, in the long run, she has everything it takes to be a multiple winner of majors and a genuine superstar,” Becker wrote in his Daily Mail
“This slightly worries me because what she needs — both to improve herself physically and to become a better player — is to play more tournaments, not fewer.
“Forget the Grand Slams and what happened last year for a while, what she needs is to build up a bulk of experience and realise there is no substitute for playing matches.
“These are what will make her tennis-fit and give her the know how to compete at her best at the majors.”
Raducanu’s stunning victory in New York in September came in just her second Grand Slam entry, having reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last summer.
There are roughly four months until the next Grand Slam in the calendar, with the 19-year-old set to make her debut at Roland Garros for the French Open.
Becker believes that Raducanu had not played a sufficient intensity of tennis in the build-up to the Australian Open, and must correct that moving forward.
“There may have been reasons for it but getting blisters on your hand is a sign you have not been competing enough at maximum intensity,” the German, six times a Grand Slam winner, explained.
“There is no need for Emma to worry in the long term, she just has to get out there and play.
“[Rafael] Nadal set a good example by playing a smaller event before the Australian Open — so learn from the best.”