Emma Raducanu praised for showing character as ‘people are sort of doubting her a little bit’

Emma Raducanu celebrates

There were several positive signs for Emma Raducanu during her first-round win at Roland Garros with Tim Henman praising her fighting spirit while Mats Wilander believes her attitude will get her “to the top of the women’s game”.

After the highs of the 2021 season that saw her win the US Open at her first attempt and, as a result, surged into the WTA top 20, the 2022 campaign has been disappointing as she failed to win back-to-back matches in her first five tournaments.

However, she reached the quarter-final in Stuttgart and the last 16 in Madrid, but then picked up a back injury and made another early exit at the Italian Open.

On Monday she had to work for her maiden victory at the French Open as she was broken in the first game of the match by fellow debutant Linda Noskova, who won the opening set.

Raducanu was also staring down the barrel in the second set as the Czech also edged ahead after breaking twice, but on each occasion the British No 1 hit back immediately and eventually broke in game 12 to take it to a decider, which she dominated.

Henman was impressed by her fightback, but concedes she needs to work on her physicality.

“It was a great effort. Coming into the event off the back of pulling out in Rome, it seems [her back is fine] after question-marks over whether she’d play,” he told Eurosport.

“She needed to be tough out there because her opponent was playing incredibly well, and was up a set and a break, but her attitude, her fighting spirit got her through that second set to give her momentum.

“That’s a positive sign. Her physicality has to catch up with her tennis ability, which is in no doubt. She needs to build that foundation to give her a bit more resilience.

“Though when you reflect on her journey, it has been such a whirlwind she hasn’t really had the opportunity, so hopefully she can build that and the results follow.”

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander admits question marks have been raised about the 19-year-old after her slump at the start of the year, but he sees no reason why she can’t get to the top.

“People are sort of doubting her a little bit, she hasn’t been around that long, but I have to say every time I see her play, I am convinced she is going to get to the top of the women’s game at some point because her attitude is absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“She does everything well on court, she moves well and is solid off both sides. The most important part: she has a great attitude through all these tough times, when everybody is doubting her and she’s not winning many matches. She’s so positive and I love watching her play because of her attitude.”