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Emma Raducanu Unaware of Next Billie Jean King Cup Match



Captain Expresses Surprise

Emma Raducanu’s claim that she is unaware of when Britain are next playing in the Billie Jean King Cup next month appears to have caused a distinct raising of the eyebrows from Captain Anne Keothavong.

Ahead of a bumper second round of matches at Indian Wells on Saturday night, Keothavong took the unusual step of using Twitter to express surprise at the admission of her number one player.

Raducanu’s Response

Following her first round win in the Californian desert Raducanu was asked about her participation in the team event’s World finals qualifier, which will take place next month in Coventry against France.

‘I don’t even know when it is, to be honest,’ the former US Open champion said. ‘I haven’t thought about it. I’ve just been so in my zone as I’ve said. I’ll decide [on my participation] later.’

Captain’s Response

Overnight Keothavong responded to one report of her comment with a thinking face emoji. Separately she posted the observation, seemingly in reference to that: ‘My communication skills are generally good in case anyone was wondering.’

The British captain has travelled to the US to attend the biggest tournament since the Australian Open and run the rule over the players at her disposal, and it is surely unthinkable that she has not had some kind of contact with her leading player.

Potential Drama

It also stretches belief that the meticulously-prepared Raducanu would not know that she and her GB team-mates were playing on April 14-15, barely a month away. The dates have long been established, even though the Lawn Tennis Association left it very late to secure a venue for a match expected to be played in a 6,000-capacity arena.

Now there is the prospect of a drama involving the squad’s best-known player in the lead-up to the tie.

Conflicting Schedules

This always appeared on the cards, because of how close it is to the Porsche Grand Prix tournament in Stuttgart, which takes place the following week, also indoors but on clay.

With Porsche among Raducanu’s portfolio of sponsors it is an event she needs to commit to, and there would only be a few days for her to adjust to the different surface. It is unthinkable that this cannot have been on the radar of her and her management.

Previous Qualifier Participation

Raducanu played in the corresponding qualifier last year away to the Czech Republic, but withdrew from the finals event in Glasgow due to the wrist problems which ended her 2022 season early.

Prior to this week’s event in Indian Wells she complained that soreness had returned to her wrists, although that did not stop her registering an impressive 6-2, 6-3 win in the opening round against Danka Kovinic, the world No 62 from Montenegro.

Concerns for the Team

The prospect of her not playing in Coventry will be a concern to Keothavong and more widely the LTA, who are especially keen to promote the women’s game and showcase it in areas of the country which rarely get to see tennis at elite level.

While GB ended up doing well in Glasgow to make the semi-finals, the absence of the top player would leave the team without anyone from the top 100 singles.

Harriet Dart is the next highest ranked at 109 while Jodie Burrage, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Katie Swan are clustered below that.

Indian Wells Matches

On Saturday night Raducanu is due to take on recent Australian Open semi-finalist Magda Linette on a busy evening of British action in the second round at Indian Wells.

Jack Draper is also scheduled to face compatriot Dan Evans, with the prospect of the winner taking on Andy Murray. The 35 year-old Scot will face Radu Albot of Moldova after his planned opponent, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, pulled out with injury.

On Friday night Cam Norrie, the Indian Wells champion of 2021, comfortably made it through to the third round when he defeated Tung Lin Wu of Taipei, 6-2, 6-4.

Carlos Alcaraz is top seed in the men’s event in the absence of Novak Djokovic. He is still barred from entering the United States, although he hopes that might be rescinded in time for the Miami Open. Overnight there was a considerable upset when second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was beaten 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 by Australian Jordan Thompson.

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