Emma Raducanu “must become more robust” if she is to thrive at the top of the women’s game, believes Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong.
As a result of a foot blister, Raducanu’s movement was severely compromised during her heavy 6-1, 6-1 singles rubber defeat to Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday, a result that contributed to GB’s 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic in Prague that saw them fail to qualify for the event’s finals in November.
That injury followed other problems to afflict the 19-year-old during the past year, which have included a hand blister at January’s Australian Open and a back complaint at Indian Wells.
Keothavong said the problems are reflective of Raducanu’s requirement to work on her conditioning following her stunning breakout year in 2021.
“Before the match, we were aware she had a blister but it got progressively worse for her during the match,” Keothavong said.
“There was no indication of anything that said to us that she couldn’t play or that she wasn’t ready to go out there and give it her absolute best.
“It does take time for a player to get used to life on the tour and become more robust, and she certainly needs to become more robust. I don’t think that’s any secret and she’s working on it.
“THE MORE SHE PUTS HERSELF OUT THERE, THE MORE SHE CONTINUES TO TEST HERSELF AGAINST THE VERY BEST, SHE’LL FIGURE OUT A WAY THAT WORKS FOR HER.”
Raducanu also spoke in the aftermath of her loss to Vondrousova, saying: “It completely stopped me from moving. It is very disappointing when you’re out there playing a rubber for your country and you feel completely redundant.
“Of course it’s frustrating, for sure [to be hampered by physical issues in recent matches], but in some sort of twisted way it gives me a sense of confidence and relief that I don’t think it’s my tennis that’s the issue.
“I think my tennis level is pretty good, it’s just about being able to repeat it or maintain it or not be hampered by any kind of physical issues and as soon as I sort all these out and keep building on my tennis level then I think I will be able to put out good matches back-to-back.”
Despite a valiant performance from the GB team of Raducanu, Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Sonay Kartal over the two days of competition, it wasn’t enough to steal the victory away from a strong Czech team.
However, Keothavong was proud of what her group achieved.
“I do feel really proud of all the players and the team effort that’s gone into this weekend,” she said.
“The fact that we took it all the way down to the deciding rubber just shows how much guts and courage the players had today.
“Overall we came close but fell short.”