Emma Raducanu told ‘to wipe the slate clean and make better decisions’

Shahida Jacobs
Emma Raducanu in action
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain looks on during her tennis match

Emma Raducanu has been told she needs to have a serious discussion with her team about her schedule and whether or not she should enter qualifying for the French Open.

There are question marks about what comes next for Raducanu after it was confirmed this week that she has pulled out of next week’s WTA 500 event in Strasbourg.

The decision to withdraw from the tournament would suggest that the 21-year-old plans to take part in qualifying for the French Open as the two events run concurrently.

Raducanu has slipped to outside the top 200 in the WTA Rankings and, as a result, failed to get a direct entry into the main draw. With no wildcard offered to her, she will have to play in qualifying if she is to qualify for the clay-court Grand Slam.

However, there is also the option of skipping the qualifying tournament in order to switch her focus to the grass-court season.

Former player and current tennis pundit Colin Fleming concedes Raducanu faces a tricky decision, but says she needs to “make better decisions”.

“Emma and her team need to have an open conversation [about her plans]. It’s been a largely positive start to the season,” he told Sky Sports Tennis.

“How do you schedule the next few weeks to make sure you do better. Is it to miss the rest of the clay and be ready for the grass?

“She doesn’t want to play and put in more performances like that [in Madrid], because then it becomes a bit of a habit. She needs to wipe the slate clean and make better decisions.

“I’d love to see her go to Roland Garros and play, even if it’s qualifying. If she’s fit and healthy, of course she can qualify. Once you’re in the main draw, who knows what can happen.”

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After encouraging displays on clay during the Billie Jean King Cup for Great Britain and the Stuttgart Open, Raducanu slumped to a woeful straight-set defeat to qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle at the Madrid Open.

After the defeat, Raducanu claimed tiredness played a role as she stated: “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.”

Great Britain BJK Cup captain Anne Keothavong, though, warned that if a player’s head and heart are not into something then chances are they won’t do well.

“It’s a number of weeks between now and the first grass-court event. That’s a long training block and she’s already had eight months off on the sidelines,” she told the pay channel.

“She has said and proven she gets confidence from the hours she puts in on the practice court.

“We talk a lot about head, heart and legs, and if your head and your heart aren’t in it, your legs don’t stand a chance.

“It was really disappointing to see. She said she was tired, but do you talk yourself into more tiredness?”