Emma Raducanu sent message from Jo Konta as ex-star gives verdict on Brit’s season so far

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EMMA RADUCANU suffered a narrow defeat to Petra Martic at the BNP Paribas Open.
Emma Raducanu has been defended by a fellow former British No 1 after an early exit in Indian Wells. The 19-year-old has suffered with injuries and niggles this year, being unable to make it out of the third round in her four tournaments this season. But Johanna Konta has seen the positive side of her compatriot’s losses.


Raducanu had her best result of the season in Indian Wells when she made it to the round of 32, having receiving a first-round bye before defeating Caroline Garcia in round two. She narrowly lost a tight, two-hour 46-minute match to Petra Martic 6-7(3) 6-4 7-5 on Sunday and will now head to the Miami Open for her next tournament.

The world No 13 admitted she was told she had “no chance” of competing in the Californian desert after picking up a leg injury that forced her to retire her opening match in Guadalajara and withdraw from the subsequent Monterrey Open. Although she made it to the third round, the US Open champion admitted she had picked up another injury in Indian Wells but would still be competing in Miami.


“I think it’s just part of not playing and having so much stop start and having five, six days to prepare for matches and then playing at that intensity,” Raducanu said after her loss, explaining her back had been giving her problems. “I’ve had it for the last few days – just a product of training hard and probably the last match was pretty intense too and it didn’t settle down.”

It follows a series of injuries and niggles for the Bromley teenager, who caught Covid during the pre-season and saw her training derailed before suffering with severe blistering at the Australian Open, then going on to face the issues with her leg and back. In Melbourne, Raducanu defeated 2017 US Open champion and former world No 3 Sloane Stephens before putting up a good fight against Danka Kovinic despite her blisters, losing in three sets.

With some concerned over Raducanu’s early losses, recently-retired former world No 4 Johanna Konta has heralded her recent results as a positive part of the 19-year-old’s learning process. “I think she has to look back on this Australian Open as a positive experience. The fact that she had that tough first round against Sloane Stephens and was able to come through that and also the way she was still able to compete in that second round,” the former British No 1 said.

Calling for Raducanu to be given the time to adjust in her first full season on the pro tour, Konta continued: “I think it’s a positive that she’s on tour and she’s going to be consistently on tour now, that’s what we need to keep on talking about, she needs time in this environment and just that consistent time in this environment – it’ll all go into the bank of experience.”

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After the Miami Open, the world No 13 will compete on the clay courts for the first time in her professional career, having previously contended junior and ITF events on the surface, and Konta was quick to back her successor as British No 1 in unfamiliar territory. “I don’t really think Emma necessarily deals with pressure like how we would be expecting her to deal with it, I think she’s incredibly mature with how she’s dealing with everything around her,” she said.

“So, I do not believe it will faze her too much changing onto the clay court, she’s definitely played on clay courts I would assume before as a junior, and obviously again it’ll just be about spending time on that surface at the highest level of the game. It’s an exciting time for her to discover how her game feels on the surface against these players so I think more than anything it’s again just time and adding it all into the bank of experience.”

The first big tournament in the WTA clay-court calendar kicks off on April 4 in Charleston, while the first European event begins in Stuttgart on April 18. Raducanu will be able to pick up points to add to her ranking over the clay season before the grass swing begins, where she made her tour debut in Nottingham last year before her Wimbledon breakout, reaching the second week as a 338th-ranked wildcard.

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