Paris | Raducanu focuses on grass

The WTA has formally confirmed on its website that Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from Roland Garros, ending speculation that she was about to get into the main draw of the French Open as one of the last 3 alternates.

There are those who see me doing a shoot or posing for a commercial and they don’t see the seven hours before that at the training centre, doing physio, gym, hitting balls. But if on a rare evening I go to a premiere and I get photographed, that’s my downtime. Emma Raducanu

The former US Open champion now will focus on the upcoming grass and hard-court swings instead.

The 21-year old Briton, who is currently ranked 212, had originally been entered in the qualifying draw, which begins today, Monday, in Paris, after her special ranking of 103 had not been enough for direct acceptance into the main draw, which starts on Sunday.

Raducanu pulled out of qualifying just hours before the draw was conducted yesterday.

“It’s important for me to keep laying on the foundations,” Raducanu said in a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter). “I will use the time to do a healthy block before the grass and subsequent hard-court seasons to give myself a chance to keep fit for the rest of the year.”

Raducanu started her clay-court swing on a positive note, winning both of her rubbers in Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers in April before reaching the Stuttgart quarter-finals, but she has not played since her 1st-round loss in Madrid to Maria Lourdes Carle from Argentina, after which she told the media that she felt ‘mentally and physically exhausted’.

“I would say the last few weeks have been a lot,” Raducanu said at the time. “I think, from the performance today, it was very clear that mentally and emotionally, I was exhausted.

“I was trying to push through, and I was just unable to push through today. I guess the sport is just pretty brutal.”

In the remainder of the clay court season, Raducanu was believed to be planning to play at the Rome Open and French Open, but both tournaments failed to give her a main draw wild-card, and her only option was to play qualifying, which she subsequently rejected.

Raducanu was seen in Paris practising on the clay last week, but, this week, she is back in London practising on hard courts.

Meanwhile, a WTA 250 tournament in Nottingham will take place from 10 June, marking the start of the grass court season.

In the lead-up to the The Championships at Wimbledon, there are two other tournaments on British soil slated to take place, a WTA 250 in Birmingham and a WTA 500 in Eastbourne.

There are also grass tournaments abroad after Paris, a WTA 250 in the Netherlands followed by two WTA 500s in Berlin and Bad Homburg.

It remains to be seen what Raducanu’s plans are for the grass season, and how many tournaments she will play before making her return to Wimbledon this year.


Emma Raducanu, seen here in a photoshoot for evian, has hit back at her critics

© Julian Finney/Getty Images for evian

Raducanu’s statement inevitably prompted comments on social media.

“So she’s not injured but feels a French Open run would jeopardise her medium term fitness for the events/surfaces she feels are her best chance for success? I would have thought matches is what she needs but hopefully she knows best,” a fan wrote in response.

Another had a more damning verdict, writing: “A clever way of seemingly saying something whilst saying nothing, she’s not injured, this should have been her year to prove the doubters wrong. It’s clear she won’t play qualifiers anywhere,” wrote a fan.

“Finding it increasingly difficult to defend Emma’s decision making,” said another.

Raducanu played only 10 matches last year before undergoing surgery on both her wrists and her one ankle,  and so far this year, on her return, she is 9–7 in matches won and lost.

Many have questioned whether she is putting in enough effort into regaining full fitness and her best form, with those on social media often critical when she is spotted at showbiz events.

In a recent interview with The Times, Raducanu took aim at her critics, saying: “There are those who see me doing a shoot or posing for a commercial and they don’t see the seven hours before that at the training centre, doing physio, gym, hitting balls. But if on a rare evening I go to a premiere and I get photographed, that’s my downtime.”

Fiercely independent, Raducanu ploughs her own furrow and it remains to be seen if she can turn her on-court form into more winning ways with her rather unique approach.





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