Raducanu ready to 'experiment' with clay creativity

The US Open champion will mark her Roland-Garros debut against a qualifier.

Emma Raducanu interacts with fans in advance of Roland-Garros 2022Cedric Lecocq / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Making sure it’s fun, playing freely; Emma Raducanu is ready to experiment on the pristine courts at Roland-Garros.

The US Open champion continues to encounter ‘firsts’ during her fledging career and will take her Parisian bow in the first round against a qualifier.

The British teenager made an encouraging professional debut on clay courts on Billie Jean King Cup duty five weeks ago and has featured in nine matches on the road to Roland-Garros. This includes an encouraging 6-4, 6-4 defeat at the hands of world No.1 Iga Swiatek in the Stuttgart quarter-finals.

“I have definitely learnt that I can kind of adapt to this surface much faster than I probably thought, how to stay in the point and I think my movement on defence has also improved a bit,” said the 19-year-old Raducanu.


“When to play with spin and when to actually hit it hard. You don't have to always just grind it out. Sometimes you can put your hard court game on a clay court, as well. It's just finding the balance. I think that clay definitely teaches you that."

Within the confines of the court, the world No.12 is attempting to bring variety and versatility to her artillery, embracing the vocal support of fans in the stands during practice.

Emma Raducanu, practice, Roland-Garros 2022Cedric Lecocq / FFT

“I think that something that the clay has taught is how to experiment, play with the ball and the court dimensions. I was just kind of having fun with it, and I love how the crowd gets so involved here. It definitely brings a lot of atmosphere,” she added.

“I just think that what I'm doing is experimenting and having fun.”

A learning process

Having pulled off a fairytale triumph in New York, the US Open champion clearly relishes the major stage. However, Raducanu is being forced to learn all the aspects surrounding life on and off the court.

Earlier this month in Rome, she was forced to retire from her opening round clash with Bianca Andreescu due to a back injury and there were doubts within her camp as to whether Roland-Garros was possible.

Given the all clear to compete in Paris, Raducanu is ready to roll.

“I'm learning about my body, for sure, but I'm very happy to be continuing my preparations and fortunately I didn't have to miss this Grand Slam,” continued the world No.12.

“I really look forward to these big moments and the big tournaments. It feels good to be able to move freely and just like run around, it's quite fun.”

High hopes for the future

The teenage prodigy, already a Grand Slam champion, is urging patience with her trajectory, but also has lofty ambitions on the terre battue.

“I think that when I said that six weeks ago, and I still think this, is that I could be a great clay court player, looking forward, long, medium term, in a few years where I have definitely developed more robustness and I'm able to repeat the same shots over and over,” stated Raducanu.

“I really am enjoying the clay. To be honest, I think I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. Clay at the beginning kind of was like written off, ‘Oh, it's a clay court, just have a go’.

“But now I really believe that I can be good and faster than I thought it would be. I'm definitely looking forward for the coming clay court seasons.”