ANALYSIS: What is Emma Raducanu's next move after missing out on Roland Garros due to qualifying snub

WTA
Sunday, 19 May 2024 at 15:29
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Emma Raducanu bizarrely decided against playing qualifying for the 2024 French Open with the former US Open champion removing herself from the list and seemingly also has her hope of playing as an alternate expunged as a result.
But what is her most likely move ahead of the French Open and what are her next steps. We look through the likely scenarios for Raducanu as she plots her next path.

French Open window closes after qualifying draw confirmed

The initial hope for Raducanu was that she would be called up to play the French Open through the route of three alternates remaining. But this door has likely shut as there have not been three players over the past day before qualifying who have withdrawn.
Jessica Pegula for instance is unlikely to play and it could be said that Bianca Andreescu after deciding to withdraw from Rabat could feasibly be next on the list. Albeit for a lot of players, they decide they want to play even if injured to collect the 76k in prize money. E.g Jodie Burrage who is Raducanu's compatriot has been out with an injury which looked to take her out all season. But seemingly is back training on clay likely as a move to attain the prize money that she would miss out on if she didn't play first round. This always throws a spanner in the works when it comes to the withdrawals as players are less likely to decide against playing.
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Emma Raducanu (pictured) decided against playing Qualifying for Roland Garros. But what is her next move?
Also with the qualifying draws being confirmed this afternoon. Raducanu wasn't included and Sara Errani is top seed meaning that she will not play the French Open. The initial hope was that Raducanu withdrew today due to three players withdrawing and not yet being confirmed. But with the Italian first up on the list, this is not the case. Arina Rodionova was next up on the alternates. As a result, she can't seemingly get called up as she is basically out of the running after deciding against playing qualifying.
This was a slightly odd move from Raducanu aside from a potential injury being earmarked. The Brit also did the same in Rome after not obtaining a wildcard and did not want to play qualifying. Not exactly the best message to send when it comes to wanting to further herself and her career. As well as discerning from the abuse she often gets for not delivering on her US Open promise.

Will she play lower level?

A lot of the criticism levied at Raducanu has come from a place of seemingly not wanting to play lower level and build herself up. In reality, she came back from injury at the worst time with many top stars returning after pregnancy and injury lay-offs.
This meant that gaining wildcards was perhaps harder than it was before. But aside from mentioning it in the odd interview, Raducanu has yet to put herself forward to play on the smaller level. The Brit has instead decided to remain at home when she can't play and rely on wildcards.
This helps when it is tournaments such as Miami and Madrid where Raducanu has IMG management so easily gets one. But when it comes to Rome and Roland Garros, their rules don't benefit players such as Raducanu and prefer those with their own nationality. A rule that has also tripped Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki up.
But Halep albeit returning after a drugs ban so perhaps not the highest on the list for wildcards has shown that it can be done the hard way. She has entered a multitude of tournaments at lower level and despite only playing one only has injury to thank for not playing in others.
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Naomi Osaka and even Simona Halep injury aside have shown guile to attempt to play lower level.
Even Emma Navarro who is a top 25 player has entered basically every WTA 125k she can in order to gain match practice and points. Naomi Osaka has entered WTA 250 tournaments too in a move that perhaps is the most surprising given that she has more Grand Slam titles than most of those chasing wildcards.
But she has decided to grind instead of seemingly following advice not to likely tarnish her image by playing lower level. Raducanu has suffered defeats to the likes of Maria Lourdes Carle for instance and Anhelina Kalinina so doesn't particularly have the form to hide anymore and not take the chance.
Other Brits such as Katie Boulter have often and still do play lower level and it is a good chance to play when ranking dictates you can't. But will she follow that lead?

Grass court return likely

The likely answer is no. At least not for now. Aside from entering a WTA 125k during Roland Garros, it is presumed that she will play on grass next and this is no surprise.
Given the toil that she has had during the clay court season even getting into tournaments, it was a surprise that she tried in the first place. She does not defend any ranking points this year from now and one call to the LTA presumably would hand her wildcards.
She could also given the talent pool especially in the first few weeks of these tournaments get in without wildcards. She has previously entered Birmingham and Eastbourne for instance, but injury stopped her playing. But all eyes will be on the LTA to see if she plays in the weeks following Wimbledon.
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Grass court the likely next move for Raducanu with wildcards aplenty likely.
But bizarrely she also has been training on hard courts and not grass so if she is to make that switch, it will have to come in the next few weeks. It seems though that aside from a statement from Raducanu, that it will be her next move aside from playing any lower level tournaments. She will then presumably hope to get her ranking up in hopes that she won't need wildcards for the US swing to come from July onwards. But after such great form to start the clay court swing, it is a shame that she has decided to withdraw and not attempt to play.
Also a move that no doubt despite not likely being her decision will cop her more criticism than it will praise as she shows a lack of interest of grinding it out to get into tournaments. Even the Australian Open was a late alternate back door entry and so this likely won't stop with this latest announcement.

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