Andy Roddick defends Emma Raducanu over ‘impossible headline’ in ‘some British rag’

Shahida Jacobs
Emma Raducanu takes a break
Emma Raducanu of Britain in action

Andy Roddick has come to Emma Raducanu’s defence in the wake of a report in a British tabloid that suggested she was “partying” on the eve of a recent tournament, although the American admits he was also left confused by one of her statements.

Having slipped outside the top 250 in the WTA Rankings following an injury-disrupted 2023 season, Raducanu received wildcard entries for the Abu Dhabi Open and the Qatar Open in February.

While in the Middle East, Raducanu attended the grand opening of a Dubai hotel alongside several A-list celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens.

One British tabloid who reported on her appearance went with the angle that she was “partying” ahead of her opening match at the Qatar Open, but Roddick hit back at that claim.

Talking on the Served with Andy Roddick podcast, the former world No 1 said: “Last week I saw some British rag [write], ‘Emma Raducanu at a party two days before she plays her first round.’ I was like she’s a wildcard.

“If you’re a wildcard it’s like, I’m asking you for a direct entry into a tournament – which your ranking does not get you into – but whenever you get a wildcard you have to give something back to the tournament.

“Normally it’s like, I’m not a name, I haven’t won the US Open at that point, so I’m participating in clinics or I’m hitting with a sponsor’s kid… or who knows what it might actually be.

“They’re like, she’s out partying. I’m like, no. She went to an appearance that was probably the reason why she … Maybe I’m projecting here but it’s not out of bounds.

“She went to this thing, took a picture sitting down, no drink in the hand, no nothing. Party? The headline’s impossible!”

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu ‘will win more Slams’, says her agent as he hits out at ‘malicious’ criticism

Raducanu went on to lose her opening match against Anhelina Kalinina as she suffered a 6-0, 7-6 (8-6) defeat and after the match, she told the media that she plans to switch up her training as “outdoor tennis is very different”.

Roddick, though, admits he was left slightly puzzled by her comments, but that doesn’t mean he won’t cheer for her.

He added: “Three days later, she loses; it’s not the greatest match and she’s talking about how she hasn’t played outdoors enough. I’m going, ‘You spent two months in Australia.’ So I don’t know how to cover her.

“In one aspect, this (criticism) is completely unfair and then other one, I’m going – I don’t know what the focus is as far as coaching. I don’t know what’s happening when.

“It’s one of the stranger things that I’ve ever had to really think about, all the while every time I watch her, I cheer for her because she’s such a great story and such an outlier in tennis.”

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu seems to have confirmed her next tournament and gets wildcard for another big event