Ex-Slam semifinalist reveals two huge assets Emma Raducanu has despite past troubles

Andrea Petkovic weighs in on Raducanu's future chances after returning from multiple surgeries.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ex-Slam semifinalist reveals two huge assets Emma Raducanu has despite past troubles
© Getty Images Sport - Hannah Peters

2014 French Open semifinalist Andrea Petkovic says Emma Raducanu has two valuable assets on her side as that's her youth and also "a huge mental advantage" that she gained by having a victorious Grand Slam run in her resume.

Playing in her second Grand Slam tournament, Raducanu pulled off a historic feat that no player had achieved before when she won the 2021 US Open as a qualifier. During that run, Raducanu was just 18 and she won all of her 10 matches in straight sets en route to becoming the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam. 

Nearly three years later, 21-year-old Raducanu remains on that one title as injuries and inconsistent results marked her 2022 and 2023 seasons. After undergoing multiple surgeries and returning to tennis this year, Raducanu has shown some positive signs in both her game and body as she definitely now looks healthier and stronger. 

Over the last few months, many have been wondering if a healthy Raducanu could now finally start to unlock her potential and contend for Grand Slams in the future. Petkovic, a former world No. 8, has no doubt that former world No. 10 Raducanu could be a big-time player in the future.

"First and foremost: her youth. If I was as young as she is, I would still believe I could do anything," Petkovic told Eurosport.

"She has the advantage that she won't be afraid of winning a tournament if she gets to the second week of a Grand Slam event or goes far in a competition again. Simply because she has already done it once at the US Open.

“That's a huge mental advantage that can never be taken away from her again. This title just came a little too quickly. She won more matches in New York than she had previously played on the WTA Tour.

“That was a crazy situation that doesn't happen very often. I'm sure she'll find her feet again. Once Emma wins one or two Grand Slam matches, she'll be really dangerous."

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

What would Raducanu consider 'a success' in 2024

When Raducanu became a Grand Slam champion at the age of 18, that naturally played big expectations on the Briton. Although Raducanu hasn't had any in two and a half years, there are still certain expectations on the 2021 US Open champion because she has a Grand Slam title in her collection. 

For now, Raducanu has been pumping the brakes on the talks regarding her future Grand Slam chances, stating several times that staying healthy and seeing constant progress throughout 2024 would make it a pretty successful season for her. While staying healthy and constantly progressing would make Raducanu happy, she also admitted that she would like to win at least one title this year.

“For me, success would be seeing my level improving in practice first and then in matches,” Raducanu told The National in February.

“I know that when my level will be there, putting it into a match will take some time to apply. But I know that seeing the level increase, that results will follow.

“Also, I would love to win a title of any grade.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Raducanu received some pretty big praise from Aryna Sabalenka

In her last tournament played, Raducanu delivered some great tennis and ultimately got a chance to clash against two-time Grand Slam champion Sabalenka in the Indian Wells third round. 

Against Sabalenka, Raducanu entered as the clear underdog but she didn't make it easy for the world No. 2. In the end, Raducanu's efforts weren't enough to upset Sabalenka as the Belarusian escaped with a 6-3 7-5 win. 

Afterward, Sabalenka acknowledged that it wasn't an easy day at the office before offering some pretty high praise on the 21-year-old Briton's talent and game. 

"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. But still, I know that the level is there, and she can play some great tennis," Sabalenka said of Raducanu after their Indian Wells match.

Emma Raducanu and Aryna Sabalenka
Emma Raducanu and Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

After a good Indian Wells run, Raducanu was sadly forced to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a lower back injury. But Raducanu now seems to be healthy again as she has been practicing for some time now and she has arrived in France with the British team to take on France in this week's Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers tie. 

After concluding her BJK Cup duties, Raducanu will head to Germany to take part in a WTA 500 in Stuttgart. In Stuttgart, Raducanu will be starting her clay season for the third consecutive year. 

Considering that clay is Raducanu's least favorite surface, just staying healthy and making certain progress on the surface would certainly make a successful clay season for the Briton. 

Emma Raducanu Andrea Petkovic