Raducanu, whose popularity soared following her 2021 US Open triumph, has found it difficult to gather any momentum in the months following her epic run in New York. The 19-year-old has been plagued by minor injuries and poor form, and boasts a win-loss record of 7-8 this year.
Interesting, Woodbridge revealed that he was impressed with how the Brit has handled the spotlight since her win in New York.
“It’s a really tough environment to be growing up in front of cameras, with everyone having a discussion about her,” Woodbridge remarked. “I think she’s handled that as well as anybody that I’ve seen. Coming out and not being able to perform at that same level as winning a US Open, and still being able to cope with the disappointment of that, and the negativity from naysayers.
The 51-year-old pointed out how the quick conditions at Flushing Meadows last year helped Raducanu redirect pace and capitalize on her strengths. According to Woodbridge, this was not the case at the Australian Open, where the relatively heavier conditions hampered her gamestyle.
“Technically she’s very sound,” he continued, “but when she won that US Open, everything was in her favor in terms of conditions; they use a light ball, it’s a very fast court that really allowed her to redirect with pace. When she came to Australia, it was a heavier ball and a medium-paced court, and with a powerful opponent at the other end, she’s still learning how to physically absorb that.”
Woodbridge believes the young Brit’s shot tolerance will be rewarded on clay, a surface that will help her significantly neutralize the power of a hard-hitting opponent. Woodbridge was right to an extent, as Emma Raducanu found some form at the Stuttgart Open, where she reached the quarterfinals, before making the last 16 in Madrid.
“It’s harder to hit through an opponent on clay, which may give her the opportunity to build a bit more confidence to be able to stay in a few more points, to be able to use what she’s good at,” the Aussie said. “The movement had been taken away from her by (opponents’) power over the last three or four months. Clay might give her just enough time to be able to use that, and then do her redirecting and get onto a forehand.”
“Roland Garros is probably going to be a good tournament for Emma Raducanu” – Todd Woodbridge
Todd Woodbridge pointed out how the attention will shift to other seasoned clay-courters at the 2022 Roland Garros, thus allowing Emma Raducanu to play more freely. He expects the teenager to have an encouragement run in Paris before shifting her focus to her home Slam, Wimbledon.
“Roland Garros is probably going to be a good tournament for her,” Woodbridge opined. “There was a lot of focus on her and intensity in Australia. A little bit of that’s taken off her going into the French Open because results have shown we’ll be focusing on some other players. It’s before Wimbledon, where that’s going to be very hard.”
“So this is one where she can go just a little bit under the radar and I think play more freely, and then potentially get some form to go over to the grass-court season with,” he added.
Raducanu will be in action this week at the WTA 1000 event in Rome. The No. 10 seed will take on Bianca Andreescu in the opening round.