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Mats Wilander believes it is no surprise to see Emma Raducanu crash out of the US Open in the first round, but it doesn’t have to be a negative either.

The British star became the first qualifier to ever win a major last season, but a 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Alize Cornet ended her title defence before it had really started.

It was a good performance from Raducanu in many ways, although one that lacked consistency, and Eurosport expert Wilander believes he knows why she is struggling to string wins together right now.

"I don't see much of a difference from Emma this year compared to last year, except she was just confident and other players were scared to play her,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“It's obviously a surprise that the defending champion goes out but at the same time, she's been on tour for a year and two months. It's not a worry to me at all. In fact, I think this is a very, very important step in her career that defending this title is over and she can now focus on her tennis, and trying to get my ranking up in a normal way than just rise completely to the top.

"Emma is good but she's not great. She had a lot of confidence last year, and she is a fighter, and she plays well. The only thing I don't know is, I feel like she hasn't quite found her identity as a player.

“Is she a bit of a risk taker? Does she play really aggressively? Or does she use her movement skills, and dial back a little bit and play with a little bit of variation? Maybe a little bit more like Simona Halep used to play?

Emma Raducanu not fearing ranking drop

As Emma Raducanu leaves the US Open, the real question becomes where does she go from here?

There can be little doubt that her US Open triumph and the spotlight that came with it has created pressure on her development, which at times has appeared oppressive to her tennis.

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Wilander, though, believes she now has an opportunity to find herself and he has urged her to take it.

"I haven't quite seen her path - what is she going to actually end up playing like? Because she's good at everything, doesn't quite have the killer shot,” he explained.

“Let's work and figure out what it is that makes her happy in terms of how she plays. And then - this is how she’s going to end up playing. Of course, we're always going to try and make improvements, but I think that's the one part where I'm a little confused.

“But again, she's so young, and she hasn't really been given a proper chance to live a normal life. It’s just nuts what happened to her.

"Right now, she's sort of in between aggressive and not being really aggressive. Obviously, the way she played last year is the way she needs to play but that was also a player that had so much confidence and freedom and no pressure that we most probably will never see the likes of again.

“I'm very excited to see her continue and push forwards because I do think that she seems like a great person. She has a great attitude.

“She's obviously the biggest thing that happened in British sports in a long, long, long time for the women's side and on the men's side, too. And how do you deal with that? Well, it's now back to reality, which I think couldn't have come soon enough to be honest." 

Emma Raducanu will drop outside of the world's top 80 now as a result of her first-round exit.

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