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Sports News

Emma Raducanu calls for tennis rule change ahead of Nottingham Open clash with Ena Shibahara

today11/06/2024

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Emma Raducanu has called for the WTA to introduce a uniform tennis ball ahead of her Nottingham Open clash with Ena Shibahara today.

The Briton hasn’t played since April, when she lost to Maria Lourdes Carle at the Madrid Open.


Raducanu is, however, set to return to action today as she looks to win the Nottingham Open for the first time.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the Briton hit out at the WTA for failing to ‘regulate’ the ball – while also saying the balls over the grass season are ‘heavy’.

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu wants the WTA to change the rules ahead of her Nottingham Open clash with Ena Shibahara

PA

She feels players are getting the ‘short end of the stick’ and wants the WTA to act to avoid more players picking up injuries.

“It was important for me to take time to transition onto the grass because the balls over the grass season are heavy,” she said.

“I feel like the conditions are just getting slower and slower on the grass courts.

“Especially for myself having had wrist surgeries, I just needed to prioritise the transition.

“I think wrists are always very delicate and I think especially with how the tour is right now, and the fact we have to change balls every single week pretty much, and they don’t regulate the ball.”

She added: “I’m not the only one with wrist issues. I’m probably just the one who’s had them most publicly.

“So, I think for me it’s definitely a factor where I have to miss certain events because either the conditions or the balls just don’t favour my situation.

“And it is hard as they are trying to make the points longer and tennis more interesting.

“But I guess players do get the short end of the stick in that sense and hopefully something can be done about that.”

Raducanu previously made her WTA debut at the Nottingham Open back in 2021, when she lost 6-3, 6-4 to Harriet Dart.

She was then able to obtain a wildcard for Wimbledon and her stock in the sport has grown since, despite some injury issues in recent years.

Raducanu feels that was a huge moment in her career and she can’t wait to play in front of a home crowd.

“If I didn’t get that wild card, who knows what would have happened or if the US would have happened?” she said.

“So I think life is a compilation of butterfly effects and small moments that you don’t know what’s going to happen.

“I’m very much looking forward to being back and playing in front of a home crowd.

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Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu will be hoping to win the Nottingham Open this week

PA

“It’s obviously different being back here having won the US Open compared to before, but in a good way, with a lot of support.”

And Raducanu is glad to be feeling good again after undergoing two wrist surgeries last year.

She added: “It was pretty surreal because obviously I couldn’t be on crutches because I’d had two wrist surgeries.

“So I had a cast on one hand – I’d timed it so I didn’t have two casts at the same time, obviously – a splint on the other and then my ankle was also pretty much immobilised, in a splint with stitches and everything.

“So I would just scooter around with one knee. As someone who is so active it’s very difficult to just shut your body down.

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu feels healthy again ahead of her Nottingham Open clash with Ena Shibahara

PA

“I think it’s very easy for me to lose sight of where I was exactly a year ago because it is pretty much a year ago to this day, to this month.

“You get so caught up in your own world. You want more and more and more.

“But a year ago I was on a scooter, scooting around and I didn’t know [whether she would play again]… of course there was an element of doubt. So to be healthy, I need to cherish it.”



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