Tennis-Raducanu says Barty retirement won’t alter her career plans

Australian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 20, 2022 Britain's Emma Raducanu reacts during her second round match against Montenegro's Danka Kovinic REUTERS/Loren Elliott

March 23, 2022

(Reuters) – British teenager Emma Raducanu said on Wednesday she is not rethinking her career plans after world number one Ash Barty’s surprise retirement and that she fully hopes to play into her 30s.

Raducanu, who enjoyed a spectacular breakout season on the WTA Tour last year and won the U.S. Open, said she took inspiration from Barty and that the 25-year-old Australian’s retirement shows how personal everyone’s career objectives are.

“For me, I want to be in the game as long as possible,” Raducanu told reporters at the Miami Open.

“I’m only 19. I’ve just come on tour, which is pretty young.

“I want to be in the game till I’m in my 30s. We’ll see what happens and how long I can last, to be honest.”

Three-times Grand Slam champion Barty’s surprise decision marked her second retirement from the sport, having walked away as a teenager in 2014 before returning in 2016 when she began to rise rapidly up the rankings.

Raducanu, who took a lengthy break from tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and because her parents insisted she should complete her high school exams, said Barty’s successful return showed the benefits time away from the court can have.

“If you get oversaturated with one thing, it’s not healthy with anything you do,” said Raducanu.

“I feel like that just shows, if you take time off, you come back, you’re hungry, you’re ready. She basically cleaned up when she came back … It just shows you don’t need to be only tennis, tennis, tennis.”

Raducanu did not drop a set at last year’s U.S. Open where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.

“Right now all I care about is getting through the season in one piece,” said Raducanu, who has struggled on court since her U.S. Open victory.

“I feel like because I have been losing early every week, I don’t really care because I kind of like the challenge of being knocked down and feeling horrible obviously after a loss, sort of trying to get yourself back up there for the next match.

“Now all I want to do is just complete my first season on the tour in one piece. Doesn’t matter if I lose first round every week, just that’s the goal.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)