US Open: Why is it so tricky to acquire a second grand slam?


It was a common scene, one repeated in the course of the decades by 1st-time grand slam winners Daniil Medvedev also fell to the ground as he won his maiden grand slam a day following Raducanu, as did Dominic Thiem a yr just before that.

But following this euphoric instant, there normally appears to be to be a gap prior to that pinnacle can be arrived at again — 34 of the 45 initial-time grand slam winners due to the fact 2000 have endured a hold out of at least a calendar year for another, if they won a next title at all.

Williams herself had to wait two-and-a-half many years to win her next grand slam.

‘Depth of self-belief unlike anything at all else’

Along with Williams, tennis has been dominated for 20 a long time by players for whom losing looks a lot more complicated than successful — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Successful noticeably much more than a single grand slam has develop into normalized, even predicted, to some degree obscuring the challenges of claiming that very first a person.

In tennis, a lonely unique activity demanding continual travel for 10 months of the year across unique time zones and environments, the psychological strain of winning a grand slam is different as opposed to other athletics.

“A whole lot of moments when there is social guidance, I glimpse to my remaining, I seem to my appropriate, I see my teammate to give me a fist pump … That kind of social support can go a definitely long way for an person to take care of functionality stress and anxiety,” athletics psychologist Dr Jarrod Spencer clarifies to CNN Sport.

“But [when] it truly is just one particular-on-just one, you glance to your remaining and your suitable and you comprehend that you happen to be on your own. That demands a depth of self-belief that is contrary to nearly anything else.”

And with a one of a kind scoring system that creates jeopardy on virtually each and every level, considerably of participating in tennis is “actually up in the head,” as Eurosport pro and previous environment No. 7 Barbara Schett tells CNN.

Profitable would seem to be to create a virtuous circle, deepening self-perception which in flip builds self-confidence to be deployed at crucial details in limited matches.

“When I was top 10,” Schett suggests, “I was at the stage in which I went on the court and I assumed, ‘I’m not likely to get rid of this match. There is certainly totally no opportunity.’ I can only envision how … the legends of our game would come to feel when they are stepping on the courtroom.”

Schett played Williams 3 situations in her profession and never defeated her. They achieved for the final time at the French Open up in 2003 and Schett lost 6- 6-.

Barbara Schett played Serena Williams during the third round of the French Open.

“I had previously dropped the match ahead of I played versus her for the reason that her existence on the courtroom was just unbelievable,” Schett recollects.

“I just felt like, ‘How am I heading to defeat this female? She’s bodily so substantially greater. She performs so significantly more challenging. She thinks in herself. And I had better just go to the locker place.'”

But profitable can direct to a feeling of fallibility as nicely as invincibility, making a new established of anticipations and targets to be reckoned with.

‘Perfection does not exist’

In the aftermath of Raducanu’s US Open up triumph, pundits rushed to hail her as a potential several grand slam winner on account of her potent groundstrokes and regularly intense return of provide.

She gathered sponsor right after sponsor and PR gurus branded her with the opportunity to come to be Britain’s initial billion-dollar activity star.
“Everyone just anticipated me to win each solitary event I was at any time heading to play all over again. It’s a bit unrealistic simply because perfection just doesn’t exist,” Raducanu said in a new interview with Nike.

A succession of accidents has marred Raducanu’s very first complete yr on tour with blisters, again problems, side strains and hip accidents all forcing her to withdraw from a variety of tournaments through the season.

Emma Raducanu played, and defeated, Serena Williams two weeks ago in Cincinnati.

In her three grand slam appearances considering that individuals magical two weeks in New York, Raducanu has achieved just the 2nd round, slipping to gamers ranked reduce than her on just about every occasion.

“There is certainly a ton of expectation externally on her,” Schett suggests. “Definitely, she wants to gain a different just one. She would like to demonstrate to most people that she wasn’t a one particular day question or a two 7 days wonder and that she can do much more, but the pressure and the expectations are exceptionally high in her scenario.”

For a 19-year-old competing in her initially 12 months on the WTA Tour, it has been a good, if unremarkable time, but the stratospheric anticipations encompassing the Brit have reframed just about every decline as a thing resembling a catastrophic failure.

‘That place of satiation’

Ambitions, as well as anticipations, change in the aftermath of a key victory like a grand slam title.

Dominic Thiem has experienced a very similar trajectory to Raducanu given that successful his maiden grand slam at the 2020 US Open, plummeting out of the upper echelons of the activity to a position as small as entire world No. 352.

A lingering wrist harm hampered the Austrian, as did coming to phrases with his new position as a grand slam winner.

“When you combat for a purpose, you go away everything for it and you achieve it, every thing modifications,” Thiem informed the Austrian newspaper Der Regular in April 2021.

“On the other hand, in tennis, every little thing goes pretty quickly, you you should not have time to appreciate the victory, and if you are not 100%, you get rid of. It happened to me this calendar year.”

Dominic Thiem celebrates winning the 2020 US Open final against Alexander Zverev.

To explain the psychological outcomes of reaching a significant aim, Spencer compares it to a more day-to-day encounter — taking in.

“When you’re hungry, you will do whichever it usually takes to get some meals,” he states. “And then the moment you arrive at that point of satiation exactly where you just come to feel entire, then it’s like, I can’t take in a further chunk, I really don’t want everything for pretty some time.”

“And so it truly is very ordinary and organic, just like eating a large food that occasionally an athlete, after they earn a little something really considerable could possibly just eliminate a tiny little bit of generate for a little while.”

The psychological expenses of elite activity are starting to be extra obvious each yr as athletes begin to discuss overtly about mental health and its great importance.

At the French Open final year, four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka withdrew to secure her psychological wellbeing soon after a furor erupted next her refusal to carry out post-match press conferences.
Later on, she revealed that she had “endured lengthy bouts of despair” and “substantial waves of anxiousness” due to the fact her very first grand slam triumph in 2018.

Iga Swiatek, in the meantime, hailed her athletics psychologist Daria Abramowicz for the purpose that she played supporting her acquire the French Open up in 2020.

‘Many, several factors have happened’

Controlling the “emotional vitality” which sport depletes is key to recalibrating an athlete’s aims and anticipations, Spencer points out.

Thiem has begun to rebuild after his year in the wilderness, successful his first ATP Tour match in 14 months with a victory in the to start with spherical against of the Bastad Open up versus Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori in July 2022.

“My last victory was in Rome in 2021, it feels like a diverse globe someway,” he claimed later on, in accordance to the BBC.

“Lots of, lots of issues transpired. It was rough, but it was also a extremely very good encounter, I think, for lifestyle in general. I’m so happy that I acquired this 1st victory below right now.”

Dominic Thiem reached the quarterfinal of the Austrian Open in July this year.

In modern months, Raducanu as well has shown glints of the type that propelled her to tennis stardom with victories towards Williams and Victoria Azarenka at the Western & Southern Open up in Cincinnati right before she dropped to Jessica Pegula in the third spherical — just her second ever match from a prime 10 participant.

She will deal with Alizé Cornet in the to start with round of the US Open as she commences her title defense, although Thiem — also showing at the event for the 1st time due to the fact profitable it — will engage in Pablo Carreño Busta.