Emma Raducanu opens up about ‘fun’ challenge ahead of upcoming return


Emma Raducanu has revealed she is ready for the “fun” challenge of clay courts with the former US Open champion set to return to action in the Billie Jean King Cup this week.

Having skipped the Miami Open following a run to the third round at Indian Wells, the British star will be playing for Great Britain in the team competition for just the second time, and first time in

The world No 300 will join British No 1 Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, and Heather Watson in the Great Britain team that head to Le Chaudron to take on France in this coming week’s qualifier.

It is the second year in a row that the British team, captained by Anne Keothavong, have taken on France, having tasted defeat in Coventry last April.

Raducanu was absent from that tie and also missed the 2022 Finals in Glasgow, though is back in the fold as she looks to continue her comeback.

The Brit called time on her 2023 season after just one match on clay – a loss to Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart – and it is not a surface too heavily associated with British success in recent times.

However, her one previous Billie Jean King Cup tie did come on clay against Czechia in April 2022, where she picked up an opening win against Tereza Martincova before being beaten by Marketa Vondrousova.

That was Raducanu’s first experience of clay since her junior days, and speaking to the LTA she reflected on that experience, and the “challenge” of the notoriously tricky surface.

She said: “It was my first match on clay in such a long time, like four years, so I think I was very apprehensive at the start, not sure how it was going to go, but I got into it, I worked really hard.

“I played Tereza Martincova who’s from Czech, so they play a little bit on clay, so it was a great win for me to start the season.

“I do love moving on clay, sliding, I find it very fun. It’s interesting, I think it’s different.

“It’s not necessarily the surface that I’m most comfortable on or my most preferred surface but it’s something that I enjoy the challenge of.”

France captain Julien Benneteau has selected Caroline Garcia, Clara Burel, Diane Parry, and Kristina Mladenovic of his four players, with Garcia and Mladenovic in particular having bucketloads of experience in the competition.

And while admitting that Britain will be up against it this week, Raducanu is relishing a chance to reunite with her teammates.

“Just to have your team on the bench, it’s a nice feeling to have them behind you,” added Raducanu.

“You can look up to them whenever you are playing or whenever you feel like you need a bit of oomph, it’s a good environment.

“It’s a super strong team they have. They have an amazing doubles pair, they have a great singles line-up, so they could play anyone they want. They’ve got so many options.”

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