Emma Raducanu - Indian Wells 2024

Emma Raducanu claims ball changes are ‘really bad’ for players

Emma Raducanu is the latest player to hit out at frequent ball changes, suggesting that they are contributing to increased wrist injuries for players.

Raducanu reached the third round at Indian Wells this week, before being beaten by Australian Open champion and world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in a tight straight sets contest.

And the Brit feels as though she is making progress in her comeback to the WTA Tour, “I did make progress here on the matchcourt compared to when I was playing in the Middle East last month. I had a better mentality: just fighting a lot harder for every point. I think I’m proud of myself for that, just really showing up, being hungry and wanting to be there.”

However, Raducanu was not satisfied with everything in California, criticising the ‘very heavy’ balls used at Indian Wells, “The conditions are very different in Indian Wells compared to Miami. It’s very humid. The balls are very heavy. They are different, which I don’t think is great for any of the players’ wrists, but especially mine.

“I honestly think it’s really bad for us, the way that we have to switch balls every single week and especially when you’ve gone through surgeries.”

Raducanu added, “I know a lot of players who are struggling with wrist problems, too. I don’t understand why every other sport is pretty much the same, whereas in tennis it’s different week to week.”

As mentioned, Raducanu is particularly affected by the regular ball changes, having undergone surgeries to both wrists last May.

The 2021 US Open champion is not the only player to raise concern about these ball changes, with Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev also doing so last year.

Former world No.1 Andy Roddick specifically highlighted his concerns with the Penn balls in Indian Wells last week on social media, “Have gotten two texts from two of the top coaches on earth in last hour saying how bad the balls are at Indian Wells. Apparently this was after and handful of minutes of a warmup. How has this problem not been fixed over time?”

For Raducanu, she does not have to deal with the conditions at Indian Wells for another year, as the 21-year-old looks to continue her progress and build back up the rankings at the Miami Open next week.

Inside the baseline…

Emma Raducanu had a good week at Indian Wells this week and really pushed Aryna Sabalenka in an entertaining match the other day. The ball changes are a clear concern for many players and it is something that definitely needs to be addressed by both the ATP and WTA Tours. Despite reaching the third round at Indian Wells this week, Raducanu actually dropped points having reached the fourth round last year, but from now on will only gain points having missed most of the 2023 season from this point.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.