British tennis star and US Open champion Emma Raducanu insists there are positives to take from her French Open debut despite a second-round defeat.
Raducanu, 19, looked in fine form as she took the first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3.
But Belarussian Sasnovich dominated the next two sets, limiting Raducanu to just two more games and knocking her out of the second Grand Slam of the year.
Raducanu, who rose to fame at last year’s US Open, has lost in the second round in her two Grand Slams since the stunning win in New York.
‘I thought that it was a pretty long match, pretty physical as well. I think my opponent played pretty well throughout, and didn’t make any errors,’ Raducanu said after her Paris exit.
‘But yeah, I think that it was a long match for me, but the whole clay season has been pretty positive overall, I would say.’
Raducanu said she expected to suffer first-round defeats in all four tournaments she played leading up to the French Open, but she returned five wins from nine matches from her first season on clay.
‘I think I definitely got stronger as the clay season went on,’ she added. ‘It just takes a lot more to win the point on this surface and if you hit the ball flat it doesn’t really do that much.
‘I definitely learnt when to use the shape and stuff. I’ve still got quite a long way to go on this surface, but overall, I would say I definitely had a good first experience on the clay. I think I can definitely improve too.’
Raducanu insists her first full season on the WTA tour will be a learning experience and says developing on and off the court is more important than results.
‘I think this year was always going to be challenging for me to adjust, find my feet,’ Raducanu said. ‘It’s going to be a lot more familiar this time around.
‘I feel like in the last 12 months I have definitely grown a lot. On and off the court I feel like I have probably improved how much I fight.
‘I think that’s one of my biggest strengths and even more so this year, and it’s definitely opened my eyes to just how good everyone is and how much depth there is in the game.
‘I think that it has been a pretty positive year just because I have learnt so much, and I think that the amount of learning that I have done outweighs any sort of result, to be honest.’
More to follow…