The homecoming movie has to be real
One of the biggest problems with sequels is that they often repeat the plot of the first movie. While audiences love familiar themes and characters, they also demand a bloom of new, fresh perspectives.
Toy Story was one of those franchises that kept this quality control and reflected the grand theme of the dynamism of life. The innocence of youth cannot insulate against the chaos of constant change. As the alien selected by The Claw in the original movie says, “I’ve been chosen! Farewell, my friends. I’m going to a better place.”
Emma Raducanu is not a Disney character, but she is in a really good place. The storyline of her success would be dismissed as improbable even by Fast & Furious screenwriters. In two and a half months she has already had two homecomings. The first was arranged more hastily than a state visit from Her Majesty, and of course the 19-year-old ended up in forehands with the Duchess of Cambridge at Roehampton.
— Emma Raducanu (@EmmaRaducanu) September 24, 2021
If you have it, show it off. Even the LTA got into the modern spirit by parading with the champions of Flushing Meadows, including wheelchair doubles winners Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid and men’s doubles champion Joe Salisbury. However, this was all about Emma. She was the event, the banner, the proof that showed you that you can get your A-Levels and become a great champion just after the results come in.
Fortunately, the world No. 19 is not one to get carried away. Eddie Jones may have missed this, but between all the paparazzi photos at the London Fashion Show, the Bond film appearance and the Tiffany sponsorship deal, her memorable moment was a quiet meal with her team.
“What Emma did next” is on everyone’s mind now. Within a fortnight she axed coach Andrew Richardson, stating: “The players at the top are serious competition and serious players, so I feel like I really need someone who’s been through that and can really guide me because I “I’m still very, very new to everything.” It was a statement that acknowledged her rookie status, but was imbued with the ruthlessness of the knowledge that a step up was necessary.
This is the part of the film where a gray oracle – Torben Beltz – steps up to the board to get the very best out of his young load. There will be tears, damn hard work and lessons learned. Success is messy. We only see the finished product.
So there she was, at Homecoming 2, in the grand setting of the Royal Albert Hall, matching the new status of Britain’s first Grand Slam female singles major winner for 44 years. Raducanu defeated her practice partner Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse, a willing accomplice in losing in the right spirit. As advertised, it was all a bit of an exhibition drawing the last bit of juice out of that performance. This marked a line in the sand; the end of the honeymoon.
Raducanu has even won some matches on the WTA Tour since the heady days of September. Her rapid elevation now makes it sound like losing world No. 100 will be a disaster, such is the prism through which she will now be seen. She has a lot to gain, and still literally nothing to lose in terms of ranking points. A decent first week of running in Australia and then Wimbledon could see her make it into the top 10 in the world. Sounds good when we say it like that.
Here’s the pinch. Rolling in like a solid player, making it to the third or fourth round, won’t be as great as the fantasy story we just saw. What the teen has accomplished is quite a bit to get you ready for a fall. The drama from the medical injury at SW19 to the seamless, restrained winner in New York is the hook that can’t keep giving. This story will soon get a healthy dose of realism. She won’t go into detail about every second week in every major. If she *fails* to do so, the great court of public opinion will let its reactionary voice be heard. This yellow stone road will have rocks and stones.
Emma Raducanu’s star has shone so brightly that the difficult sophomore album may only be a few years in development. Progress doesn’t always mean trophies or happy endings. Patience and pragmatism are now required on set.