Emma Raducanu’s agent has insisted that the US Open champion is not being distracted by her commercial interests, and her performances would be the same without all of her sponsor shoots.
Her victory at the US Open last September sparked unprecedented interest, and she is now a brand ambassador for nine companies including the likes of Nike, HSBC, Evian and Tiffany.& Co.
With that going on in the background, Raducanu has struggled on the court since picking up her maiden Grand Slam last year.
Emma Raducanu has struggled this year on the back of her incredible success at the US Open
Since the US Open, she has become a brand ambassador for nine companies including HSBC
Her agent Max Eisenbud, of IMG, says her commercial interests are not a cause of her difficulties this year.
He told the BBC Sounds: ‘If she had zero shoot dates everything would be the same. It’s been a tough year. It’s probably panned out, she got a lot of bad luck and what really hurt her was (catching) Covid and not having a great off season, and then she was playing catch up.
‘But I think that if she had zero shoot dates, everything would be the same.
‘I know from the outside, you guys want to look at all those things – but if she locked herself in the room for the whole year and didn’t do anything, I think it would be the same.’
Eisenbud says this is his third professional experience of something ‘spectacular, special – and not normal’.
Her victory at the US Open sparked unprecedented interest in the young tennis star
The other two were a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova beating Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final of 2004, and Li Na being watched by an estimated 116 million Chinese viewers as she captured her first Grand Slam title at the French Open of 2011.
American agent Eisenbud drew up a calendar for Sharapova, in which he struck a line through all the weeks before, during and immediately after tournaments where she wouldn’t do any commercial work.
Together with her father, Yuri, they discovered she had 18 days a year that she could give to sponsors that wouldn’t affect her training or tournament schedule.
Raducanu’s agent believes her work with sponsors such as Tiffany & Co has no impact on her tennis and it wouldn’t make a chance if she had zero shoot days throughout the year
Agent Max Eisenbud (right) previously worked with Maria Sharapova and Li Na
It was an approach taken on by Li and now is a model that has been agreed by Raducanu.
Eisenbud said: ‘Again with the same philosophy,’ Eisenbud continued. ‘Never a week or so before a tournament, never in a tournament week and never right after the tournament.
‘I understand how people who don’t understand that philosophy could think that it is distracting her, but I think when you see how it’s laid out, it really is not the case.’
Raducanu has been working hard to recover from a sidestrain injury ahead of Wimbledon
‘Emma decided that she wants to start her shoots at 12pm or 1pm and go until 8pm or 9pm and have the option in the morning to either train or work out or do some fitness.
‘Not all the days have been used of the 18. There are sponsors that have those days, but many of them don’t use them.
‘I would imagine by the end of the year the amount of days she uses will be around 13.
‘But when the 19th day comes, and it’s millions of dollars and you have got to say ‘no’ because you’re being true to the 18 days.’
Raducanu is currently preparing for Wimbledon where she will be in the draw despite her recent issues with a sidestrain injury.
Raducanu was not ready to return for the WTA tournament in Eastbourne but has been practising at the All England Club this week.
The British No. 1’s team are not taking anything for granted, though, and will monitor her carefully over the next couple of days before a final decision is made.