Andy Murray has pleaded with the tennis media to avoid the same mistakes as they made with him and not treat Emma Raducanu 'too harshly.'
Raducanu has gone from the golden girl of the British media to often-criticised after struggling to sustain the form that won her the US Open last year.
The 19-year-old has been questioned about her coaching decisions and fitness this year in what has been a tough first full season in the WTA Tour.
Andy Murray's mother, Judy, last week asked fans to remember that Raducanu is still developing physically and urged the importance of patience.
She used the example of Andy when he was coming through at a similar age and struggling to adapt to the sheer physical demands of the Tour compared to the juniors.
Andy Murray has now spoken of that himself, admitting that he felt a little let down at times by a press who were perhaps too eager to chase big headlines.
"Just let her (Raducanu) be who she is," Murray said.
“We will make mistakes and say the wrong thing at times but just maybe don’t judge us too harshly when we do that and I’m sure that would help Emma a little bit.
“Just let her be who she is, and you know, she might say some things that are a joke or that she maybe doesn’t mean or whatever.”
“I think there needs to be a level of trust and respect between the player and the media.
“I also had problems early in my career where maybe certain things that I said got taken out of context or jokes that I might have made turned into big stories and big headlines where it turned things a bit sour and negative.”
Author's comment: If anyone is going to know about this stuff, it's Andy Murray. In fact he is the only one who has been in a comparable position to Emma Raducanu really. He had the same pressures and expectations from the same press, so his experiences are valid.
The truth is that Raducanu probably has inadvertently given the media opportunities of late to make a story out of very little. Her comments of her coaching situation were a great example, and opened the door for comments about 'teenagers who always think they know best.' We were guilty of it too.
Everyone probably needs to reign in their expectations, though. very few players have started playing Grand Slams in their teens and immediately started winning them all.
If Serena Williams couldn't even do it, I don't know why anyone should expect Raducanu to, and once the expectations come into line the headlines should too.
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