Emma RADUCANU and Simona HALEP face potential snub as initial wildcards announced for Rome Open as tough road awaits

Saturday, 27 April 2024 at 10:15
In a potential pre-cursor to a further Roland Garros snub, the expectation of wildcards may leave Emma Raducanu, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki without much playing time in the coming weeks as the Rome Open announced their initial allocation.
Raducanu may not need to benefit from them much longer with the former US Open champion only rising from here on out in the rankings despite an embarrassing defeat to Maria Lourdes Carle on Wednesday at the Madrid Open. For instance she is only five spots away from the main draw at Roland Garros, so sits just on the cusp. A good run at a tournament in the coming weeks will help her cause no end.
But a potential need to play lower level might need to be sucked up by many of these former Grand Slam champions. Backed by big management companies such as IMG in the case of Raducanu, the thought of playing smaller tournaments isn't wanted by any former top name. But in a lot of cases, it is needed both in terms of constant game time and also ranking rises.
Raducanu has decided against this route thus far. While Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki who initially did the same have come to realise that they need to accrue enough ranking points to not rely on their name to get into tournaments. Osaka in particular played Rouen last week, while Wozniacki has played Charleston and San Diego albeit through wildcards but not just playing WTA 1000 tournaments that are backed by management. They have shown a need to get as far as possible as quick as they can.

Roland Garros door likely slammed shut, Raducanu still to benefit on grass but need for lower level still there

Martina Trevisan was the leading name announced for the Rome Open with only two spots remaining. While Raducanu and Halep could yet benefit, Roland Garros is less likely for the pair and also Caroline Wozniacki. The FFT tend to only give wildcards to home hopes and reciprocal agreements with other Grand Slams meaning that qualifying is a likely route or sitting out the tournament entirely.
Wozniacki in particular has shown a disdain to play qualifying and perhaps her decision to snub the end of 2023 and also the Middle Eastern swing means that she likely won't benefit from no wildcards until at least the grass court season. Raducanu in particular could play anything she wants realistically during that time with any British tournaments likely queuing up to have her. This is also brought into comparison with wildcards also constantly given to Venus Williams and also British players who have long flattered to deceive. So Raducanu will know that even if her clay court season ends now, her grass court swing could begin very soon after.
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Bianca Andreescu (pictured) is set for an imminent return and wildcards will likely now be at more of a premium meaning time is ticking for Raducanu, Halep and Wozniacki.
For Halep even, it is a question of injury. The former World No.1 has not had the best time of it since returning to the sport playing Miami and having to withdraw from every other tournament. She has made an attempt to play lower level. Perhaps realising that her doping ban and perception there of as well as no ranking won't help her. Also the other issue these players have is that certain other big names will soon run out of protected rankings. So the clamour for wildcards will really intensify up until the US Open. Bianca Andreescu for instance will likely still get top billing in the US and Canadian hard court swing. In a time when these wildcards will be at a premium, it shows the need for these players to try and play lower when they can instead of running into big names or not getting any form due to long breaks. A lesson perhaps to be learned from the Rome Open if they don't get in eventually.

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