Emma Raducanu’s struggles on clay explained as Brit gears up for French Open title shot

Robson announces retirement from tennis aged 28 after injury hell

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Emma Raducanu’s mixed early-season fortunes on clay have resulted from her tendency to play a more expansive game on hard courts as well as the external pressure that comes with being one of the sport’s biggest young stars, according to two-time French Open runner-up and Warner Bros. Discovery expert Alex Corretja. Raducanu made her clay-court debut on the WTA Tour in Stuttgart last month and will be looking to raise her game on the surface to another level before the next Grand Slam of the year gets underway at Roland Garros on Sunday.

The British sensation has recently beaten the likes of Tereza Martincova and Tamara Korpatsch on clay but has also tasted defeat at the hands of Anhelina Kalinina, Marketa Vondrousova and current world No 1 Iga Swiatek over the last few weeks. Corretja has since explained that Raducanu’s efforts on clay have been hindered by her lack of experience when compared to her familiarity with hard-court tennis, while the pressure on her shoulders to live up to expectations will have also made it trickier to perform at the highest level.

“I think the story with Emma is that all of a sudden she saw herself becoming one of the most rising stars on the Tour, not just in the tennis world but worldwide,” Corretja told Express Sport when quizzed on Raducanu’s prospects ahead of the French Open.

“That might be super difficult to deal with. I think what she did at the US Open was a miracle, it’s nearly impossible to repeat that. Not for her, but for any other girl. She needs to understand everything, how it works.

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“Probably after the US Open she will [now] be more relieved and she will understand better what’s going on in her tennis life, in her private life. She will start [learning] how to deal with everything.

“Playing on clay, she has no problem because she moves well, she’s got good ground strokes and she knows the game very well. Normally she plays more open on hard courts, that’s probably why her results on clay are not as good.

“She’s great, I mean, what she’s done is unbelievable. But all of a sudden you have the whole country, or the whole world, expecting so much at her age because she’s been winning so many matches and especially the US Open, how do you deal with that?

“You need a learning process and I think that’s why she’s understanding the situation right now a little bit better, it will take a little while to understand everything. I think she’s going to be very good, she’s already good but she will continue winning Grand Slams.”

Raducanu will go up against a qualifier in the first round of the French Open to mark her debut at Roland Garros after being handed a favourable opener in Thursday’s main draw. She withdrew from her recent Italian Open clash against Bianca Andreescu due to injury after needing off-court treatment but will be fit enough to compete in Paris over the next fortnight as things stand.

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