Rising teen tennis star Emma Raducanu is helping to normalise anxiety

And that’s a win in our book...

Throughout this year’s Wimbledon championships, British crowds watched on in awe as 18-year-old South Londoner Emma Raducanu obliterated her opponents. Despite being a wild-card entry with the lowest world ranking in the women’s draw, she managed to become the youngest British female to reach the fourth round of the singles at Wimbledon since 1959. Spectators were all the more shook, then, when the rising star withdrew from her match against Ajila Tomljanovic 75 minutes in after suffering breathing difficulties.

In a tweet the following day, Raducanu explained she was advised by the medical team not to continue and that “the whole experience caught up with me”. Many have since speculated that her breathing trouble was down to performance anxiety.

Watching this young athlete experience mental struggles in the public eye has initiated a much-needed conversation around the idea of performance anxiety (and anxiety in general), helping to destigmatise such issues. Fans took to Twitter to share their support for the teen tennis player and talk about their own battles with mental health.

Bhargavi Swami Tweet
Neil Procter Tweet

Her ordeal has even encouraged other public figures to get involved with the discussion, further raising the profile of mental health problems. Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, for example, said: “It happened to me playing for the national team in U16s against Wales. I remember it to this day. No explanation for it and it never happened again. You should be very proud of yourself...”