Emma Raducanu - Australian Open 2024

Emma Raducanu’s ‘willingness wasn’t evident’ claims Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain

Emma Raducanu has exited the Madrid Open in the first round, with the 21-year-old claiming that she is ‘exhausted’ after playing back-to-back tournaments.

Raducanu was beaten by qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle, 2-6 2-6, hitting a total 34 unforced errors in the straight sets defeat.

The Brit has played six matches in 13 days, having helped Great Britain qualify for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals and reached the quarter-finals of the Stuttgart Open last week before losing to world No.1 Iga Swiatek.

And Raducanu has suggested that this contributed to her defeat in the Spanish capital, “Starting from the Billie Jean King (BJK) Cup, I haven’t stopped. I was very happy being able to help carry the team in the BJK Cup and then straight to Stuttgart with no rest and then straight here and trying to adapt to the conditions.

“They are very different because it’s outdoors and I was playing indoors for the last month. Many factors made it very difficult to fully compete. I’m going to take a few days off and rest a little bit because I’ve been going non-stop for the last month. From the performance it was very clear that mentally and emotionally I was exhausted.”

She added, “I was trying to push through. I was pushing through Stuttgart and was just unable to push through today. So yeah, it’s a shame that I was feeling so good on the court and today happened, but I guess this sport is just pretty brutal.”

Emma Raducanu was the star for Great Britain against France in the BJK Cup earlier this month, but team captain Anne Keothavong has questioned her player’s decision to take a wildcard for the Madrid Open.

“She touched on the fact, ‘Yes, I’m tired’,” Keothavong said as a pundit for Sky Sports. “She acknowledged that in her interview yesterday, but now when I look back, do you talk yourself into more tiredness? On one hand, it’s good to acknowledge it but on the other hand, if you’re going to go out there on the matchcourt, you’ve got to be prepared to leave it all out there. That willingness just didn’t seem evident.”

The Great Britain BJK Cup captain continued, “Should she have taken the wild card this week? When the wild card is there, it’s a big event and for most players you are going to say, ‘Thank you very much, that’s a great opportunity.’ It’s a WTA 1000 and potentially big points on the board that will move her ranking from where it is at the moment [No 221].

“But when you see a player perform like that, you kind of question, ‘OK, maybe physically I wasn’t ready for it, mentally I wasn’t engaged and actually I probably could have done with the week off.’ Maybe in hindsight it would have been better to take this week off and go to play qualifying in Rome.”

It is currently unclear as to whether Raducanu will compete in Rome, with the WTA 1000 tournament beginning on Tuesday 7th May, having not yet received a wildcard and would have to play qualifying.

Inside the baseline…

Emma Raducanu has spoken about how tired she has felt over the past week, and it was very evident in the way that the Brit played yesterday in Madrid. Raducanu was going for almost every shot and trying to make the rallies short, which was clearly not working against a very strong performance from her opponent and resulted in a large amount of unforced errors. Maybe if Raducanu was to have next week off, it would be advisable to play qualifying in Rome as it is clear that her match fitness still needs to be built up after such a lengthy absence last year.

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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.