Paula Badosa: People have to stop putting so much pressure on Emma Raducanu

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World number three Paula Badosa has urged British people to stop putting pressure on Emma Raducanu and backed the grand slam champion to adjust to life on the WTA Tour in time.

US Open champion Raducanu is in a race to be fit for Wimbledon after she sustained an injury to her side at Nottingham earlier this month, the latest in a string of fitness issues for the teenager in 2022.

Raducanu had been tipped to play at the Rothesay International Eastbourne to ensure she had significant match time on grass before she returns to SW19 for the first time since her stunning triumph in New York last September.

The option of a wild card into the Devonshire Park event was not taken up by the British number one and despite playing only seven games on grass this summer, expectations will remain high on the 19-year-old if she does recover in time to play at Wimbledon.

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa is the world number three (Jon Super/AELTC Pool)

Badosa, speaking from Eastbourne, said: “I mean her situation is very tough and she already did amazing things in this sport at a very young age.

“I think most of the people are tough on her but in the other side maybe I can understand because press is press. Still, it puts so much pressure on her and she is a teenager still with so much to learn.

“She needs time and I think she needs more experience on tour and she will get it but I think people have to stop putting all this pressure on her and expectations.

“What she did is play very, very well at one grand slam and she won it, so you can see how good she is but you cannot expect her to win every match and tournament because that is impossible. She needs time and she will get it because she has a lot of talent.”

Spaniard Badosa is one of several top-10 players at Eastbourne for the WTA 500 event.

Two-time champion Karolina Pliskova is back by the seaside but not feeling in the best of shape due to the hand injury which saw her miss the Australian Open in January.

“This is a tournament I look forward to play because I had some great success here,” last year’s Wimbledon runner-up said.

“So far I am not playing the way, even though it is kind of improving, I am not playing the way I want to play and I am not feeling amazing so at the moment I am not thinking about final or winning a slam.

“Maybe it is going to come or maybe not. I will just take it step by step, match by match but I don’t feel the level is so far.”

Ryan Peniston is in the men’s singles after accepting a late wild card following his run to the last eight at Queen’s Club.

The soon-to-be world number 146 said: “If I had won on Friday maybe (not playing) would have been a possibility or if I had got into the final, but no, to have an opportunity like this, to play this week, for sure I was going to play.”

Fellow Briton Jack Draper exited the cinch Championships in the second round to Emil Ruusuvuori but was in a philosophical mood ahead of taking on Jenson Brooksby in the ATP 250 event.

“Me and my coach, we say after taking a loss, it’s fine but you have to keep going. Next day I was in the National Tennis Centre in the morning at nine doing a full day of training,” the 20-year-old revealed.

“In tennis you do have to learn to be a very good loser, especially when you are starting to come to this type of event.

“There are a lot of great players here. It is not all the time you will have great weeks so I got back to training, refreshed and now I am here.”

Katie Boulter was the lone British player to win on Sunday after she beat Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-6 (5) to reach the second round.

Compatriots Yuriko Miyazaki and Liam Broady suffered defeats in qualifying.

Heather Watson also lost in qualifying but has received a lucky loser spot into the main draw.

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