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Emma Raducanu drops out of French Open qualifying to focus on building fitness

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Emma Raducanu has dropped out of this year’s French Open qualifying, opting instead to focus on building her fitness.

The 21-year-old’s ranking was not high enough to earn direct entry to the tournament and she did not receive a wildcard, meaning she needed to go through the qualifiers.

Despite initially being entered into the qualifying draw, the Briton pulled out before matches were due to start on Monday.

“It’s important for me to keep laying on the foundations and I will use the time to do a healthy block before the grass and subsequent hard court seasons to give myself a chance to keep fit for the rest of the year,” Raducanu said in a statement, per The Times tennis journalist Stuart Fraser.

The French Open’s main draw is set to start on May 26. As of the latest list, Raducanu is still the third alternate, meaning she could still have the chance to compete should three players drop out.

CNN has reached out to Raducanu’s agent for comment.

Raducanu has not played a competitive match since her defeat by Maria Lourdes Carle at the Madrid Open in the first round on April 24.

The straight-sets loss was another bitter blow to her confidence after such a positive start to the clay-court season, when she inspired Great Britain to victory over France in the Billie Jean King Cup.

“Tennis-wise I have improved because I feel like I am playing the best tennis of my career and my life,” Raducanu said, per BBC Sport, at the time.

Since spectacularly winning the 2021 US Open as an 18-year-old, Raducanu has struggled for consistent form and fitness and has not progressed past the second round of a grand slam.

She eventually underwent surgery on both wrists and one of her ankles in May 2023 and missed both the French Open and Wimbledon last year to recover.

Raducanu had hoped to use this season to build back her form on court, but remains ranked 212 in the world.

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