Tim Henman identifies ‘number one priority’ for Emma Raducanu as he asserts ‘class is permanent’

Emma Raducanu in action in Doha 2024

Tim Henman has revealed that the “number one priority” on his “wishlist” for Emma Raducanu is for the Brit to be able to compete “without any of the physical setbacks.”

The former world No 4 proclaimed that “form is temporary but class is permanent” and believes “good things will follow” for Raducanu if she is able to continue building up matches.

Raducanu was beaten 6-0, 7-6(6) by world No 30 Anhelina Kalinina in the opening round of the WTA 1000 tournament in Doha on Monday.

The world No 262, who was competing as a wildcard, struggled badly in a 23-minute first set, before battling to take the second set to a tiebreak, which she lost after having a set point.

The 21-year-old holds a 3-4 record in 2024, having reached the second round at her first three events in Auckland, the Australian Open and in Abu Dhabi.

The 2021 US Open champion returned from an eight-month absence in Auckland last month following surgeries on both her wrists and her ankle last year.

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu considering huge schedule change after big defeat in Qatar

Six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Henman backed the former world No 10 to have success if she can remain healthy and play events for a sustained period.

“If she feels she wants to try and get more matches, then absolutely [it is a good idea],” the former British No 1 told Metro.

“The number one priority on my wishlist for Raducanu is for her to be able to compete in whatever tournament it is, without any of the physical setbacks. If she can avoid those injuries which break up the momentum and build up some physical resilience, that’s the most important thing.

“Form is temporary but class is permanent. She is such a good player. You could see in the first two tournaments this year, her level was very, very impressive. That’s having not played for nine months. If she can build up some matches, good things will follow.

“If she can play 20 tournaments without any injury setbacks, I think that would be fantastic. She’s too good for the wins not to come. I do believe her level is that good.

“It’s much more about the process and less about the outcome. She’s still massively inexperienced. If you do a number count of the matches she has played on the main tour, it is still so little.

“She’s got to build up physical resilience and the experience of being on tour. Then she will be able to do herself justice. Post-US Open, she was still trying to build up her physicality at tournaments, which is hard to do.”

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu’s 2024 tennis schedule: Which tournaments are likely to feature her on calendar?