Emma Raducanu rates her Indian Wells run, calls out WTA

Raducanu won her opening two matches before losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the Indian Wells round-of-16.

by Dzevad Mesic
Emma Raducanu rates her Indian Wells run, calls out WTA
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Emma Raducanu is happy with how her 2024 Indian Wells run went as the Briton described it as "a big success" but also called out the WTA over the constant ball changes because she feels it is "bad for us."

In her third Indian Wells campaign, Raducanu started with a dominant 6-2 6-3 win over Rebeka Masarova. Then, Raducanu was 4-0 up on 2024 Australian Open semifinalist Dayana Yastremska before the Ukrainian world No. 31 retired from the match. 

After overcoming the opening two rounds in Indian Wells, Raducanu got to meet the biggest name yet in 2024 as she took on world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Against Sabalenka, Raducanu fell short in two sets but she put up some big fight before the two-time Grand Slam champion sealed a 6-3 7-5 win. 

"It was a good success, I would say," Raducanu said of her 2024 Indian Wells run.

"I think I have handled myself a lot better on the match court. I was a lot more positive and hungry to play, and that showed I think in the tennis that I did play."

Last month, Raducanu started her Middle East swing with a convincing 6-4 6-1 win over Marie Bouzkova before Ons Jabeur sent her packing out of Doha by giving her a 6-4 6-1 defeat. After exiting Doha in the round-of-16, Raducanu lost in the Dubai first round to Anhelina Kalinina 0-6 6-7 (6) in a match where the Briton didn't look good on the court throughout the match. 

In her first action since the Middle East swing, Raducanu felt she looked better tennis and mentally-wise. 

“I did make progress here on the match court compared to when I was playing in the Middle East last month,” Raducanu said.

“I had a better mentality: just fighting a lot harder for every point. I think I’m proud of myself for that, just really showing up, being hungry and wanting to be there.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Raducanu on why the constant ball changes can damage players' health

After concluding her Indian Wells campaign, Raducanu described the conditions in Indian Wells as tricky and added that the "very heavy" balls used in the desert aren't helping either. 

Raducanu, who had surgeries on both wrists last May after struggling with wrist pain and discomfort over an extended period of time, is currently healthy. But Raducanu is aware that constantly exposing herself to certain risks could lead to another wrist injury and she believes the WTA Tour could help her and other players by having the same type of ball used in all tournaments. 

“The conditions are very different in Indian Wells compared to Miami,” Raducanu said. 

“It’s very humid. The balls are very heavy. They are different, which I don’t think is great for any of the players’ wrists, but especially mine.

“I honestly think it’s really bad for us, the way that we have to switch balls every single week and especially when you’ve gone through surgeries.

“I know a lot of players who are struggling with wrist problems, too. I don’t understand why every other sport is pretty much the same, whereas in tennis it’s different week to week.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Raducanu got praised by Sabalenka

As mentioned above, Raducanu may have lost to Sabalenka but she didn't go down without a fight. 

In the first set, Raducanu saved two set points in the eighth game and even had four break points before Sabalenka converted her third set point to win the opener. With Sabalenka serving for the match in the 12th game of the second set, Raducanu had three break points before Sabalenka converted her fourth match point. 

Afterward, two-time Australian Open champion Sabalenka recognized Raducanu's performance and praised the 21-year-old Briton.

"She's an incredible player and she played great tennis today, even though she didn't play many matches in the past couple of months," Sabalenka said of Raducanu.

"But still, I know that the level is there, and she can play some great tennis. But in those key moments, I was focusing on myself and the things that I have to do on the court to be in this match, and I think it's worked well."

Next week, Raducanu will be resuming action in Miami. For the second consecutive year, Raducanu - ranked at No. 250 - has received a main draw wildcard into Miami and she is now set for her third appearance at the tournament. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

In 2022, Raducanu lost in the Miami second round but that year she was seeded and had a first-round bye. Last year, Raducanu was hampered by wrist issues throughout her Miami first-round loss to Bianca Andreescu.

This year, Raducanu is returning to Miami healthy and hoping to clinch her first win at the tournament.

Emma Raducanu Indian Wells Aryna Sabalenka