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Emma Raducanu pulls out of French Open qualifying to focus on Wimbledon preparation

Emma Raducanu will no longer take part in French Open qualifying; she remains third alternate for the main draw at Roland Garros, needing three to drop out to gain a place; qualifying starts on Monday and the French Open begins on May 26

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Colin Fleming and Anne Keothavong debate whether Raducanu should play French Open qualifying

Emma Raducanu has pulled out of French Open qualifying which is set to take place from Monday.

Raducanu appeared on the qualifying entry list for the Open on Saturday but has now been removed. There has not been a reason given for her withdrawal.

Without taking part in qualifying, she would need three players to pull out from the main draw to gain a place at Roland Garros.

Raducanu said in a statement: "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."

Ranked 221st in the world, Raducanu removed herself from the list on Saturday. Qualifying begins at 9am UK time on Monday.

The 21-year-old has a protected ranking of 103rd due to surgery she had on her wrist and ankle in 2023, but it's not high enough to earn her an automatic spot in the main draw.

Raducanu, 21, missed out on a wild card for the tournament with organisers favouring French players.

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She has not played competitive tennis since her first-round loss at the Madrid Open where she suffered a first round straight-sets defeat to Maria Lourdes Carle.

The first main event of the grass-court season is the Rothesay Open in Nottingham beginning on June 10, although Raducanu could potentially enter the second-tier tournament in Surbiton the week before.

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Highlights of Emma Raducanu's first-round defeat against Argentina's Maria Lourdes Carle at the Madrid Open

Raducanu on criticism and gender pay gap

In a recent interview with The Times, Raducanu spoke about receiving criticism about her off-court commitments.

"There are those who see me doing a shoot or posing for a commercial and they don't see the seven hours before that at the training centre, doing physio, gym, hitting balls. But if on a rare evening I go to a premiere and I get photographed, that's my downtime."

The Brit also spoke about the gender pay gap on tour, saying female players are underappreciated.

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after winning the Women's final against Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka at the WTA Rome Open tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome on May 18, 2024. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Image: Iga Swiatek will receive less in prize money than her male counterpart in Rome

The Italian Open being played in Rome this week is offering £550,000 to its female champion, compared to around £750,000 to the winner of the men's tournament.

"A lot of women's players are technically better," she said. "They rely on speed, agility and brain rather than brute strength. The prize money gap is huge on the ATP tour, which I don't necessarily think is fair, but equally playing three sets in the slams is a lot better than the men's five, which is brutal."

Qualifying starts on Monday and the French Open begins on Sunday, May 26.

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