Emma Raducanu gave a candid analysis of her disappointing defeat at the Qatar Open minutes after Anhelina Kalinina beat her 6-0 7-6(6). The British No. 7 confessed that she was “struggling” with all elements of her game and explained that the gruelling tour schedule was something she needed to get used to.
Raducanu was ousted in the opening round of a tournament for the first time this year. Since returning in Auckland last month, the world No. 262 had reached three successive second rounds.
But the 21-year-old played the worst set of her comeback so far as she was bagelled in just 23 minutes and won only five points on her own service games. But she started to raise her level, breaking the world No. 30 twice and saving two match points before she finally fell in a second-set tiebreak.
Raducanu immediately came to speak to Sky Sports following her exit and offered some candid thoughts on her performance as she explained the difficulty of playing during the day. “To be honest I felt like I never really got into it. I think it was a combination of things. It’s like my first day match I think I’ve played in a year so that’s different,” she said.
Although she played during the day at the Australian Open, Raducanu continued: “Honestly, I think I need to practice training outside a bit more because it’s very different. And also like with lights, conditions, shadows it’s really hard to kind of see the ball I found towards the end.
“I think that when the tennis isn’t there you have to really try and fight and I think I did that in the second set so.” Raducanu hit 48 unforced errors during the 98-minute match and Laura Robson asked whether the forehand was something she particularly struggled with against Kalinina.
“I think I was struggling with everything like serve, return, forehand, backhand,” the 21-year-old replied, agreeing that it was one of those days. “I think it was hard because she had a really good backhand so I think even if you went line you had to make sure it was a really good shot otherwise she’d kind of take you off cross.”
While Raducanu knew that she needed more matches under her belt, she also admitted that it was difficult to get used to the demands of the tennis tour, with tournaments every single week. She added: “I think I just struggled with the timing of the ball to be honest and I think it’s going to come with more time practicing as well as matches.
“I think that it’s hard for me to get used to the tour schedule I’d say, It’s just like tournament back tournament straightaway. So I think that I need to kind of schedule my tournaments a little bit better as well as trying to get more matches under my belt.”
After receiving a wildcard into the Doha WTA 1000, it’s unlikely Raducanu will request another for next week’s 1000-point event in Dubai. Instead, she could be seen next month in Indian Wells and Miami. “I think that I’m just going to go home and then practice and we’ll see where it goes from there,” she said.