June 20, 2024
Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu is about to enter a vital two months in her career, with respected tennis broadcaster Marcus Buckland conceding it is impossible to predict what the 2021 US Open champion will serve up.

Raducanu has yet to decide on whether she will play at French Open qualifying, as her current protected ranking leaves her just outside the automatic places to secure a spot in the main draw at Roland Garros.

There is some confusion over Raducanu’s plans as she has also entered a WTA 500 event taking place in the same week as French Open qualifying, with the looming prospect of her first grass court season in two years also appearing on her horizon.

That phase of the tennis year will throw Raducanu into a huge spotlight as she plays in front of her home fas and Buckland has told Tennis365 that anything is possible for the 21-year-old, both negatively and positively.

“I’m always so careful when I mention Emma Raducanu,” Buckland told us.

“As we see with fans of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, they are very protective of their heroes and the same goes for Raducanu fans.

“I understand why they feel like that. We all know her story with the amazing breakthrough and then the big down after that.

“Now it feels like she is moving in the right direction again, but I honestly don’t know what to expect.

“She put together a string of great performances and then we saw a frustrating defeat at the Madrid Open and we haven’t seen her since.

“It will be really interesting to see how she deals with the spotlight that will inevitably fall on her when the grass court season comes around in Britain.

“I feel she is dealing with it well now and we all have to remember what a brutal sport tennis is.

“You could be playing really well, get a tough draw against a top ten player and you can lose.

“I just hope that she is allowed to continue to develop without too much negative attention directed towards her.

“The way some of the media work now, there is sometimes a batter angle to go with the negative rather than the positive and Raducanu has experienced that over the last couple of years.”

The British media have generally been supportive of Raducanu despite a run of poor form since her US Open triumph, with Buckland suggesting they want her to succeed and fill a void that will be created when Andy Murray retires.

“I feel the British print media have not been a problem,” he added. “She gave that very brief press conference in Madrid and I thought at the time, that’s not a great idea to get on the wrong side of the media.

“To be fair, they haven’t gone after her. It’s more the keyboard warriors on social media who have been going after her, but I do wonder what will happen if she doesn’t have a good summer as expectations have been set so high after what Emma achieved at the US Open during that incredible run nearly three years ago now.

“When she is on song, she is a terrific player. I love watching her play, but we have seen so many examples in the women’s game of players coming through, winning a Grand Slam and then struggling to back it up.

“You feel when they make that breakthrough that they are ready to challenge time and again, but they often go away and come back at a later date to challenge again.

“I feel that with a bit of luck with injuries, Raducanu has got the game to come back and get in the mix again. She’s still very young, so I’m not panicking for her.”

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