Emma Raducanu hits out at ‘unfair’ criticism of sponsorship deals

Emma Raducanu has defended her commitment to tennis amid the “unfair” response to her growing list of sponsorship deals. The US Open champion suffered a frustrating second-round loss to Katerina Sinaiakova at the Miami Open on Thursday, bringing her hard-court campaign to an end until the summer.

After the defeat, some comments on social media again highlighted her growing list of commercial partners. Porsche announced a deal with the 19-year-old at the start of this week but the British No 1 insists her main priority is improving results on the court.

“Maybe you just see, on the news or on social media, me signing this or that deal and I feel like it’s quite misleading because I’m doing five, six hours a day [of training], I’m at the club for 12 hours a day,” Raducanu told various national newspapers.

“But I throw out one post in the car on the way to practice and all of a sudden it’s ‘I don’t focus on tennis’. I think that it is unfair but it’s something I have learned to deal with and become a bit more insensitive to the outside noise.

“I feel like my days [with sponsors] are pretty limited. I’m not doing crazy days. I’m doing three, four days every quarter, so it’s really not that much.”

Since a remarkable victory as a qualifier at Flushing Meadows in September, Raducanu has found life difficult on the WTA tour. A bout of coronavirus in the winter affected her training programme going into the new campaign and now the world No 13 will take a step into the unknown with the clay-court season – a surface she is most unfamiliar with – on the horizon.

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Swiatek to succeed Barty as world No 1

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Poland’s Iga Swiatek will take over as world No 1 following a 6-2, 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic in the second round of the Miami Open. The 20-year-old – who becomes the first Polish player to achieve the feat – was only elevated to world No 2 after winning the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells last week. She will officially become the youngest player to make her No 1 debut since Caroline Wozniacki, who was 216 days younger, in 2010, when the new rankings are published on 4 April.

Swiatek is on a career-best 12-match winning streak and has a tour-high 21 wins this year, with WTA 1000 titles in Doha and Indian Wells. Following her ascension to the top spot, which comes just days after Ash Barty’s shock retirement, Swiatek called her new ranking “surreal”. “I’m pretty sure that tomorrow the sun will shine exactly the same way as today but for now … it feels surreal. No. 1!” Swiatek wrote on Twitter following her win. Her No 1 ranking will be recorded officially once the tournament is over and Barty is removed. The 25-year-old Australian announced her shock retirement on Wednesday.

Swiatek told a press conference: “The thing is, I never really imagined that moment because, truth to be told, I was working day-by-day and playing tennis well. But I never had the strong belief that it can actually happen. So, it’s even more surreal for me. I loved every moment of it. It doesn’t matter for me if there were fireworks. The crowd was really supportive, they were really excited. I’m just soaking everything in because I didn’t have any expectations.”

Photograph: Robert Prange/Getty Images North America

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Porsche revealed on Monday that Raducanu would be involved in next month’s Stuttgart Open, a tournament sponsored by the German manufacturer. Before that she will represent Great Britain in a Billie Jean King Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in Prague on 15-16 April.