US Open: Why is it so troublesome to win a second grand slam

It was a well-known scene, one repeated all through the years by first-time grand slam winners; Daniil Medvedev additionally fell to the ground as he received his maiden grand slam a day after Raducanu, as did Dominic Thiem a yr earlier than that.

However after this euphoric second, there typically appears to be a spot earlier than that pinnacle could be reached once more — 34 of the 45 first-time grand slam winners since 2000 have endured a wait of at the least a yr for one more, in the event that they received a second title in any respect.

Williams herself needed to wait two-and-a-half years to win her second grand slam.

‘Depth of self-belief in contrast to anything’

Alongside Williams, tennis has been dominated for 20 years by gamers for whom dropping appears harder than profitable — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Profitable significantly a couple of grand slam has develop into normalized, even anticipated, considerably obscuring the difficulties of claiming that first one.

In tennis, a lonely particular person sport requiring fixed journey for 10 months of the yr throughout totally different time zones and environments, the psychological strain of profitable a grand slam is totally different in comparison with different sports activities.

“A lot of times when there’s social support, I look to my left, I look to my right, I see my teammate to give me a fist pump … That type of social support can go a really long way for an individual to manage performance anxiety,” sports activities psychologist Dr Jarrod Spencer explains to CNN Sport.

“But [when] it’s just one-on-one, you look to your left and your right and you realize that you’re alone. That requires a depth of self-belief that is unlike anything else.”

And with a novel scoring system that creates jeopardy on virtually each level, a lot of enjoying tennis is “actually up in the head,” as Eurosport knowledgeable and former world No. 7 Barbara Schett tells CNN.

Profitable would appear to create a virtuous circle, deepening self-belief which in flip builds confidence to be deployed at essential factors in tight matches.

“When I was top 10,” Schett says, “I was at the stage where I went on the court and I thought, ‘I’m not going to lose this match. There’s absolutely no chance.’ I can only imagine how … the legends of our game would feel when they’re stepping on the court.”

Schett performed Williams thrice in her profession and by no means defeated her. They met for the final time on the French Open in 2003 and Schett misplaced 6-0 6-0.

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

“I had already lost the match before I played against her because her presence on the court was just unbelievable,” Schett recollects.

“I just felt like, ‘How am I going to beat this girl? She’s physically so much better. She plays so much harder. She believes in herself. And I had better just go to the locker room.'”

However profitable can result in a way of fallibility in addition to invincibility, creating a brand new set of expectations and targets to be reckoned with.

‘Perfection would not exist’

Within the aftermath of Raducanu’s US Open triumph, pundits rushed to hail her as a future a number of grand slam winner on account of her highly effective groundstrokes and persistently aggressive return of serve.

She gathered sponsor after sponsor and PR consultants branded her with the potential to develop into Britain’s first billion-dollar sport star.
“Everyone just expected me to win every single tournament I was ever going to play again. It’s a bit unrealistic because perfection just doesn’t exist,” Raducanu stated in a current interview with Nike.

A succession of accidents has marred Raducanu’s first full yr on tour with blisters, again points, aspect strains and hip accidents all forcing her to withdraw from varied tournaments all through the season.

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

In her three grand slam appearances since these magical two weeks in New York, Raducanu has reached simply the second spherical, falling to gamers ranked decrease than her whenever.

“There’s a lot of expectation externally on her,” Schett says. “Obviously, she wants to win another one. She wants to prove to everybody that she wasn’t a one day wonder or a two week wonder and that she can do more, but the pressure and the expectations are extremely high in her case.”

For a 19-year-old competing in her first yr on the WTA Tour, it has been a strong, if unremarkable season, however the stratospheric expectations surrounding the Brit have reframed each loss as one thing resembling a catastrophic failure.

‘That time of satiation’

Targets, in addition to expectations, alter within the aftermath of a serious victory like a grand slam title.

Dominic Thiem has skilled the same trajectory to Raducanu since profitable his maiden grand slam on the 2020 US Open, plummeting out of the higher echelons of the sport to a rating as little as world No. 352.

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

“When you fight for a goal, you leave everything for it and you achieve it, everything changes,” Thiem instructed the Austrian newspaper Der Commonplace in April 2021.

“However, in tennis, everything goes very fast, you don’t have time to enjoy the victory, and if you are not 100%, you lose. It happened to me this year.”

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

To elucidate the psychological results of reaching a serious objective, Spencer compares it to a extra on a regular basis expertise — consuming.

“When you’re hungry, you’ll do whatever it takes to get some food,” he says. “And then once you reach that point of satiation where you just feel full, then it’s like, I can’t eat another bite, I don’t want anything for quite some time.”

“And so it’s very normal and natural, just like eating a big meal that sometimes an athlete, after they win something really significant might just lose a little bit of drive for a little while.”

The emotional prices of elite sport have gotten extra evident yearly as athletes start to speak brazenly about psychological well being and its significance.

On the French Open final yr, four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka withdrew to guard her psychological well being after a furor erupted following her refusal to conduct post-match press conferences.
Afterwards, she revealed that she had “suffered long bouts of depression” and “huge waves of anxiety” since her first grand slam triumph in 2018.

Iga Swiatek, in the meantime, hailed her sports activities psychologist Daria Abramowicz for the position that she performed serving to her win the French Open in 2020.

‘Many, many issues have occurred’

Managing the “emotional energy” which sport depletes is essential to recalibrating an athlete’s targets and expectations, Spencer explains.

Thiem has begun to rebuild after his yr within the wilderness, profitable his first ATP Tour match in 14 months with a victory within the first spherical in opposition to of the Bastad Open in opposition to Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori in July 2022.

“My last victory was in Rome in 2021, it feels like a different world somehow,” he stated afterwards, in response to the BBC.

“Many, many things happened. It was tough, but it was also a very good experience, I think, for life in general. I’m so happy that I got this first victory here today.”

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

In current weeks, Raducanu too has proven glints of the shape that propelled her to tennis stardom with victories in opposition to Williams and Victoria Azarenka on the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati earlier than she misplaced to Jessica Pegula within the third spherical — simply her second ever match in opposition to a prime 10 participant.

She’s going to face Alizé Cornet within the first spherical of the US Open as she begins her title protection, whereas Thiem — additionally showing on the match for the primary time since profitable it — will play Pablo Carreño Busta.