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Emma Raducanu has Wimbledon advantage over rivals as French Open begins

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Emma Raducanu has Wimbledon advantage over rivals as French Open begins

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Emma Raducanu may have given herself an advantage over her Wimbledon rivals by practising on grass ahead of the Championships. The Briton has withdrawn from the French Open to focus on her fitness, and her recent social media activity offers an insight into her plans for the next few months.

Raducanu has shared a video to her Instagram page of her training on a grass court. With Wimbledon fast approaching, the 21-year-old seems keen to be fit for her home tournament.

The 2021 US Open champion had been due to enter the Roland Garros qualifiers this week. However, she surprisingly withdrew, citing a desire to keep herself fresh for the rest of the year.

“It’s important for me to keep laying on the foundations, and I will use the time to do a healthy block before the grass and subsequent hard-court seasons to give myself a chance to keep fit for the rest of the year,” she said.

Raducanu made an excellent start to the clay-court season, beating French duo Caroline Garcia and Diane Parry to lead Britain into the Billie Jean King Cup finals. She subsequently reached the quarter-finals of the WTA event in Stuttgart and pushed World No 1 Iga Swiatek all the way.

But Raducanu has not played since a poor showing against Maria Lourdes Carle at the Madrid Open in April. After that straight-sets loss, the British No 6 bemoaned being “mentally and physically exhausted”.

Despite that, her withdrawal from the French Open came as a surprise. But she is set to potentially gain the upper hand on her Wimbledon opponents by going straight onto the grass courts while the rest of the tour continue their clay-court campaigns.

“If she wants to move her focus on to the grass already and continue to work on her fitness that’s her prerogative,” former British tennis player Tim Henman said.

“Sometimes we can read a bit too much into these things. She played some great clay court tennis at the Billie Jean King Cup and in Stuttgart but having said that I think grass will suit her game even more.”

He added: “I don’t think it’s a question of over-prioritising. It’s just the fact that it’s their home event and Wimbledon is the most prestigious tournament in the world. Also, British players, because they have played on grass more than their foreign competitors, they do have a bit of an advantage.”

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