Emma Raducanu told reporters yesterday that she was ready to play in Paris, despite her recent fitness worries. She is also stepping up her gym regime in an attempt to become more physically robust.
Raducanu’s clay-court season has been afflicted by back pain – first in Madrid and then in Rome 10 days ago, where she was forced to retire midway through her opening match against Bianca Andreescu.
At that stage, she wondered whether she might have to withdraw from the French Open. But after a few days of rest, she resumed training this week and believes she will be in good enough shape to take on Czech qualifier Linda Noskova in the first round.
“It was definitely thrown into question,” said Raducanu, when asked about her participation at Roland Garros. “But I got the all-clear to continue with preparations and see how things go.
“I have definitely been increasing my gym work. It gives me confidence to be able to do that stuff and train, leading up to a tournament. I’m really looking forward and motivated to keep doing that.”
Amazingly, Raducanu has not played in the main event at Roland Garros before, although she did win one junior match here in 2018. Even if she remains highly inexperienced on clay, her results have looked up slightly since the tour switched surfaces two months ago, with five wins coming from nine outings.
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka – who pulled out of last year’s French Open after a row over her media duties – admitted that she had felt nervous returning.
“When I first came here, I was very worried,” said Osaka, who began seeing a therapist after a heckling incident in Indian Wells two months ago. “But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part,” she added. “Of course I’m still thinking about it, and I’m also prepping just in case I go on the court and a fan says something like in Indian Wells.”
Telegraph Media Group Limited