Emma Raducanu will make her Billie Jean King Cup debut for Great Britain this weekend – minus her toenails.
The world No.12 revealed the peculiar issue ahead of the qualifier in Prague which will pit Captain Anne Keothavong’s youthful side against the Czech Republic.
The 19-year-old Raducanu has endured an injury-hit start to 2022 with blisters curtailing her Australian Open campaign while a hip problem dashed her hopes at the Guadalajara Open.
Now the reigning US Open champion has spoken of another issue, but does not expect it to affect her performance as part of the GB squad.
“I have no toenails,” she said when quizzed about her current physical condition.
“It was just my foot, my shoes, they’ve just been sliding around a lot [in the shoe]. I had a small niggle in Miami but now I have no physical thing.”
The toenail problem is a result of small impacts over a sustained period of time and has been the subject of much amusement among the rest of the GB team that includes Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Sonay Kartal,
“I’ve always said these weeks are different to what they experienced at the usual kind of tennis tournaments and it’s really important that, as a team, we can create memorable moments,” said Keothavong.
“I think we’ve been doing so. And we’re all a little scarred by Emma’s toes!” She added with a laugh.
Raducanu will kick off against Tereza Martincova on Friday afternoon in a clash that will mark her first professional encounter on clay.
The British teenager has already suggested that she expects to adapt her game to play well on the red dirt and hopes to demonstrate evidence to back up that belief while representing GB.
“I genuinely believe that clay could be one of my strongest surfaces,” she said. “I like moving because I feel like I have got a lot more potential physically. And I do enjoy sliding. So, after spending more time on this surface, I’m sure I’ll time it better and learn more about the surface but also just the time that the clay brings. I feel like I can really use it and play aggressive whilst also being able to move. I am looking forward to spending more time on clay going forward.”
Raducanu’s comments follow hot on the heels of her week-long trip to Italy where she was given some tips on clay tactics by the renowned coach, Riccardo Piatti, who has previously worked with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova.
She added: “I went there to spend more time on clay. I hadn’t spent any prior to that. Torben (Beltz – Raducanu’s coach) had been travelling for weeks and weeks and he went on holiday with his kids. He needed that family time. So, I thought I might as well take the opportunity to go to Italy and spend some more time on the dirt.”