Emma Raducanu denied wild card for French Open

Emma Raducanu – Emma Raducanu dealt wild-card snub by French Open organisers
Emma Raducanu is likely to enter qualifying for Roland Garros after already withdrawing from the Internationaux de Strasbourg - Getty Images/Mateo Villalba

Emma Raducanu will probably have to battle through qualifying if she wants to play at the French Open after tournament organisers denied her a wild card into the main draw.

‌Raducanu’s protected ranking of No 103 is not quite high enough to earn her direct entry into Roland Garros, although there is still a possibility that she could be reprieved by a wave of late withdrawals among the players ranked above her.

‌Given that Raducanu is also reported to have withdrawn from next week’s WTA event in Strasbourg, it seems as though she has already reconciled herself to the extra week of competition at Roland Garros. The two commitments would potentially have clashed with each other.

‌Raducanu is one of four high-profile players to receive a snub – or perhaps we should call it a Gallic shrug – from the French Tennis Federation (FFT).

‌Also facing a week of qualifying is Dominic Thiem, the two-time finalist at Roland Garros who will retire at the end of the season on account of a persistent wrist injury. This is perhaps the most surprising decision, as the 30-year-old Thiem is a hugely popular player who would surely have won the French Open had his career not coincided with the two-decade reign of Rafael Nadal.

‌Then there is Simona Halep, the Romanian who won the tournament in 2018 but who has played virtually no tennis since she tested positive for the banned steroid Roxadustat towards the end of the 2022 season. Halep – who is now ranked outside the world’s top 1,000 – was later exonerated by the Court of Arbitation for Sport, but she has appeared in only one match this season, losing in three sets to Paula Badosa.

‌Finally, the former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki is also making a comeback after a maternity break. She stands at No 119 despite a strong recent run to the quarter-finals of Indian Wells, but did not enter qualifying for Roland Garros, so will not be participating in the event.

‌Raducanu showed some encouraging form of her own at the start of this clay-court season. After steering Great Britain to victory in their Billie Jean King Cup tie against France, she then took world No1 Iga Swiatek to a tie-break in the Stuttgart quarter-finals.

‌But any optimism about a sustained run of success ebbed away when Raducanu crashed out of the Madrid Open in the first round, collecting just four games against an unheralded Argentine opponent. That was on April 24, three weeks ago, and she has not played since.

‌The FFT’s approach to wild cards could be characterised as “We’re alright, Jacques”. All 18 qualifying wild cards have gone to French players, and so have 12 into the main draw.

‌Two more main-draw wild cards have been granted to Americans, and two to Australians, as part of a swap deal that entitles an extra Frenchman and Frenchwoman to participate in the US Open and Australian Open.

‌While the other three grand-slam nations may look after their own, the All England Club see themselves as too grand for such insider trading. Their stance has not assisted Raducanu – who remains stranded just outside the world’s top 200 – as she tries to rebuild her ranking.