Pundits give brutal assessment of Emma Raducanu’s woeful Madrid Open performance

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu practices during the Mutua Madrid Open.

Emma Raducanu was brought back down to earth with a bump as she was dumped out of the Madrid Open, with the analysis of her performance pulling few punches.

The Briton was crushed 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 26 minutes by world No 82 Maria Lourdes Carle, who had claimed her highest-profile win and maiden WTA 1000 victory.

Playing with strapping around the front of her left knee, Raducanu made a host of unforced errors and saw her serve broken six times.

It was a disappointing performance from the 2021 US Open champion in light of the recent resurgence seen at the Billie Jean King Cup and Stuttgart Open.

The Sky Sports Tennis pundits tried to find a way to analyse Raducanu’s display, with former doubles star Colin Fleming stunned by her attitude on court.

“A little bit shocked to be honest,” said the Scot as he was asked to give a verdict on Raducanu.

“The second set in particular, I just thought the body language from Emma was hard to understand.

“Even the break points at 4-1, it wasn’t impossible to come back with the skillsets of the two players, but there wasn’t an ounce of body language that said ‘I believe I can come back or want to come back’.

“It was inevitable from there. Very strange! I know she’s spoken about being tired and things, but on the match court, you go and give it everything you’ve got and if you’re not fit enough to play, you don’t play.

“I don’t think Emma gave it her all. She didn’t compete, which was tough to watch. I have to say.”

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu offers up curious excuse for her woeful Madrid Open display

Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain is often cautious in her analysis of Raducanu’s performance, as she knows the value the 21-year-old can have to her team when she is at her best.

Yet she joined Flemming in questioning Raducanu’s commitment to tennis after her defeat in Madrid.

“Emma has to have a good talk to herself,” she said. “How much does she really want to win this? How is she going to fight and battle? It doesn’t have to be pretty tennis but she’s going to have to work a hell of a lot harder.’

“Emma is someone who likes to know the numbers, and when she looks at these stats, she won’t want to know them. 19 unforced errors, 33 per cent of points won on serve, that’s poor.

“A lot of those unforced errors coming off the forehand. In this situation, the performer needs to come out more. She needs to be more expressive.

“A lot of these points are just too quick and going the wrong way for Raducanu.

“She’s just slapping at forehands. Those last few points, they just aren’t good enough. It’s poor. You can’t emotionally checkout now.”

Keothavong also questioned why Raducanu accepted the wildcard in Madrid after she admitted she was exhausted after a busy couple of weeks, as the Brit admitted she will now take some time away from the game.

“I’m going to recharge a bit,” said Raducanu. “From the performance today it was very clear that mentally and emotionally, I was exhausted. It’s a shame, but I guess the sport is just pretty brutal.”