How much should we care if Emma Raducanu trains enough?

The tweet with which Eugenie Bouchard took the defense of Emma Raducanuaccording to some guilty of thinking more about sponsors than effectively hitting tennis balls repeatedly, brings the issue of commitment, passion and effort that tennis players put into their work into the spotlight. Or, more precisely, the perception that fans and enthusiasts have of the dedication to sport of each individual player, especially as regards what they can only imagine, namely the indispensable training which, whether technical or athletic, must be constant and devastating. .

The myth of hard work that alone would guarantee success, the well-known bias according to which, if that athlete has achieved great results in his field by doing his utmost and with great sacrifice, those who do not achieve the same results are simply not committed. Luck, innate abilities, favorable “starting” conditions (how many top players were there whose families struggled to put together lunch and dinner?) And more luck, how to find the right people by chance along the path of growth, not to have injuries serious, making the right career choices without having experience and without adequate information and so on. What matters, in any case, is to perceive the commitment of the athletes; therefore, if the victories do not arrive as expected or, much worse, stop arriving after a prestigious trophy, the reason can only be one and simple: he stopped working, he doesn’t train anymore.

So let’s go back to Bouchard and his social defense in favor of Raducanu, accused of devoting himself more to stacking money than WTA points. First of all, one cannot fail to note, and with some surprise, that the tweet with which Genie relaunched a sentence from Emma – which is a bit of a summary of the interview given to Telegraph about ten days ago – brought the topic to the center of attention and is causing much more discussion than the interview itself. The surprise, ça va sans direconsists in realizing that you are not surprised that a tweet hit a newspaper article. She is consoled that in this circumstance it was an expert on the subject who chirped, because she cannot escape the fact that a former n. 5 in the world and a Wimbledon finalist who for years has been more successful on Instagram than on the tennis courts. The symbolic phrase of the interview in which Emma replies to the criticisms reads: “I train five or six hours a day. I’m at the club twelve hours a day. But I post a photo in the car while I’m going to train and suddenly I’m the one who doesn’t focus on tennis “.

However, it is clear that no one would have the idea of ​​criticizing certain people post if, as we said, there was no suspicion – no, certainty – of the lack of commitment following the triumph at the US Open. Certainty that comes from Raducanu’s tennis results after that extraordinary ride: he does not win over his own social is a succession of post without tennis, so he stopped training. In fact, he also publishes photos from the field or the gym, but now the selective blindness of the critics is irretrievable. Here she is, for example, engaged in a hip thrust with what looks like 195 kilos.

Let’s admit we haven’t read them all, but, if the comments on that exercise that would break her back and the ineptitude of her trainer were obvious, we are surprised not to have found one sarcastic like, “good, even today you did the your seven seconds of training “. We also have to do the work of the haters.

What cannot be denied is that from the title Slam Emma has put together more sponsors than wins. And it’s not hyperbole: Tiffany, Dior, Evian, British Airways, Vodafone and Porsche in the face of four matches won by Indian Wells in October at the Miami Open that has just ended. Just on the occasion of the debut defeat in Florida against Siniakova, the former number 5 in the world Daniela Hantuchova had observed that Raducanu “has need to get back to training hard to avoid losing more matches like that in the future “. On that occasion, it was Nick Kyrgios to rush to the defense of the young colleague by lashing out at the author of an observation intended as an accusation.

But, returning to the win-sponsor balance, can we really consider it negative? It is a plausible hypothesis (but not proven) that Emma wins little in relation to her potential, however, already expressed because she believes she has arrived and she does not want to work too hard – the thought of Dmitry Tursunov is enlightening in this regard. Or because she prefers to maximize the economic aspect over the more purely sporty one of what is ultimately his job. Of course, it would be a loss for tennis in general, for the WTA and in particular for the entire movement of Her Majesty in terms of lack of visibility. However, it remains to be shown that our right to criticize has a real as well as an abstract foundation. Because, in the end, we must ask ourselves about a question that naturally applies not only to her, but to Bouchard herself and to all those whose sporting commitment has been questioned on some occasion if not during their entire career – rightly or not. Paraphrasing, the question then is: does a great talent derive a great responsibility?

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