What next for Emma Raducanu? Rome, French Open or wait for the grass season?

What next for Emma Raducanu? Rome, French Open or wait for the grass season?

Emma Raducanu’s options after her disappointing early Madrid Open exit fall into three: play in Rome, play qualifying at the French Open, or wait until the grass season, according to Colin Fleming and Anne Keothavong…

Raducanu’s clay-court form took a dive at the Madrid Open on Wednesday as the Brit exited the tournament after a first-round straight-sets defeat by world No 82 Maria Lourdes Carle.

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome takes place from May 7, but Raducanu has not been announced as having a wildcard. Her protected ranking could see her enter qualifying stages, if she wanted.

The French Open at Roland Garros then starts from May 20, but Raducanu is not guaranteed automatic entry into the French Open main draw despite using her protected ranking of 103, with the 21-year-old fifth on the alternates list. She could enter and play qualifying, however.

“Emma and her team need to have an open conversation [about next plans]. Today is a bad day but it’s been a largely positive start to the season,” Fleming said on Sky Sports Tennis.

“There doesn’t need to be an overreaction. You have to face up to the fact today wasn’t good enough, and accept what happened.

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

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Highlights of Raducanu’s first-round exit against Argentina’s Maria Lourdes Carle at the Madrid Open

“She doesn’t want to play and put in more performances like that, 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. It would be three weeks from now without Rome, and if she’s fit and healthy, of course she can qualify. Once you’re in the main draw, who knows what can happen.”

Sky Sports’ Anne Keothavong spoke too of the benefits of Raducanu taking a rest ahead of gearing up for the grass-court season, while also pointing out the risk in waiting so long before playing again.

“With Rome, I don’t know what the wildcard situation is there, but maybe in hindsight, it would have been better to take this week off. Should she have used the wildcard in Madrid?,” Keothavong said.

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain looks on against Iga Swiatek of Poland during the quarter-final match on day five of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2024 at Porsche Arena on April 19, 2024 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
What next for Raducanu? Rome, French Open qualifying, or wait for the grass season?

“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 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?”

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