(REUTERS) - US Open champion Emma Raducanu faces a "steep learning curve" ahead of her first full season on the WTA Tour, Judy Murray, a tennis coach and mother to three-time Grand Slam winner Andy, said on Sunday (Dec 19).
Raducanu stunned the sporting world in September by becoming the first qualifier to win a Major after beating Canada's Leylah Fernandez in the final at Flushing Meadows. She was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday.
"The next 10 months will be completely different to anything she has experienced in her fledgling albeit incredibly exciting career," Murray wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph.
"It will be a steep learning curve on the women's circuit as she adjusts from the relative anonymity of an A-Level schoolgirl to the dog-eat-dog world of week in, week out Tour tennis.
"Add to that the expectation and demands of fans, media, sponsors and agents and you can see how her life has changed out of sight since winning the US Open."
Raducanu has enjoyed mixed fortunes since her Grand Slam triumph, losing early at Indian Wells in the United States and going out in the quarter-finals in Romania before being beaten in the first round of the Linz Open in Austria.
She was also forced to pull out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi after testing Covid-19 positive.
Murray stressed the importance of giving the 19-year-old some space to develop her game.
"I was so pleased to hear her say she wants to prioritise the development of her game and work on her fitness in the build-up to the Australian Open," Murray added.
"Her tennis is already in such a good place, but it's important that we don't heap expectation and pressure on her.
"Let's give her time and space to grow her game and get to grips with what the pro tennis circuit will demand of her."