Tim Henman and Laura Robson back Emma Raducanu’s decision to withdraw from the French Open… as they insist the British tennis star is ‘sensible’ to prioritise grass season

  • Emma Raducanu withdrew from qualifying at the French Open on Sunday 
  • The 21-year-old had missed out on the main draw and was denied a wildcard 
  • Tim Henman and Laura Robson say she is ‘sensible’ to prioritise the grass season

Tim Henman and Laura Robson have supported Emma Raducanu’s decision to pull out of the French Open, arguing that she is right to prioritise the grass court season and Wimbledon.

The 21-year-old, who missed out on the main draw at Roland Garros, was denied a wildcard and was due to take part in qualifying before she withdrew on Sunday. She said she wanted to ‘give myself a chance to keep fit for the rest of the year’.

Robson is better placed to comment on the situation than most, as a fellow British prodigy – she won junior Wimbledon aged 14 – who battled injury issues. Those problems, primarily wrist and hip, forced an early retirement. Robson is now working as a pundit and will be at the French Open for Eurosport.

‘I wasn’t particularly surprised (by Raducanu’s withdrawl),’ the 30-year-old told Mail Sport. ‘Once she didn’t get a wildcard I think it’s an easy decision to give yourself the best possible preparation for the grass court season.

‘She’s now got an option to play a Challenger event in the second week of Paris and hopefully play every week from then on and get as many matches as possible.

Emma Raducanu (pictured) has made the decision to withdraw from French Open qualifying 

Robson urged Raducanu to 'be really careful' as she returns to full fitness following long injury lay-offs

Henman stated that it was 'her prerogative' to turn her focus onto the grass court season

Eurosport commentators Laura Robson (left) and Tim Henman (right) believed Raducanu had made the right decision to withdraw

Raducanu had missed out on a spot in the main draw and was not offered a wildcard

Raducanu had missed out on a spot in the main draw and was not offered a wildcard 

‘She has to be really careful because her body is still getting used to playing week after week. 

‘So to play in Paris and then rush on to a different surface… Grass can be tough on the legs, you’ve got to be sharp and an extra week of practice can make a big difference. It seems like a sensible decision to me.’

Henman, a Eurosport colleague of Robson, concurred: ‘If she wants to move her focus on to the grass already and continue to work on her fitness that’s her prerogative. 

‘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.

The 21-year-old was knocked out of the Mutua Madrid Open in April by Maria Lourdes

The 21-year-old was knocked out of the Mutua Madrid Open in April by Maria Lourdes 

Asked if there is a danger of British players over-prioritising the grass season and Wimbledon, Henman replied: ‘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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