Tennis-Unconcerned about back problem, Raducanu excited for French debut

Tennis - WTA 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 10, 2022 Britain's Emma Raducanu in action during her first round match against Canada's Bianca Andreescu REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu said she has prepared normally for her French Open debut in the last few days after recovering from a back injury that forced her to retire from a first round match in Rome this month.

The 19-year-old British player struggled with the back injury during the WTA 1000 tournament in Madrid and then pulled out in Rome while trailing against Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

"I'm learning about my body but I'm very happy to be continuing my preparations for the French Open and to be able to play this tournament and fortunately I didn't have to miss this Grand Slam," Raducanu told reporters at Roland Garros on Friday.

"That is definitely a really positive thing because I really look forward to these big moments and the big tournaments. After Rome I definitely had to slow down, but this week I have been training and luckily being able to practice all of the shots.

"I'm looking forward to continuing that, and it feels good to be able to move freely and just like run around. It's quite fun. I have been preparing as normal the last few days."

Raducanu, who played on clay professionally for the first time last month, will meet a qualifier in her opening match at the claycourt major.

Despite her limited experience on the surface at the elite level she reached the quarter-finals in Stuttgart and the last-16 stage in Madrid.

"I could be a great claycourt player, like looking forward, long, medium term, in a few years where I have definitely developed more robustness and I'm able to repeat the same shots over and over," she said.

"I think I have definitely come a long way and probably progressed faster than expected in the last few weeks and I really am enjoying the clay. I really believe that I can be good and faster than I thought it would be."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Martyn Herman)

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