Emma Raducanu has to be selfish and is spot on to ditch the BJK Cup

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Emma Raducanu raised some eyebrows on Friday when she was not named in Britain’s squad for the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup tie in Coventry. The British No 1 was said to be “unavailable”, leaving the team without a singles player inside the world’s top 100. But Raducanu must be selfish to further her young career and continue finding her feet on the pro tour before she can return to representing her country.

Raducanu will not be part of Britain’s five-woman squad for next month’s BJK Cup qualifier tie against France, taking place on home soil in Coventry. Instead, captain Anne Keothavong has nominated Harriet Dart, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter, Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls and said the 20-year-old was “unavailable”.

It’s not a surprising announcement given that Raducanu said she “didn’t even know” when the tie was taking place just days ago in Indian Wells, despite the April 14 to 15 dates being in place for several months. Many have been left wondering why Britain’s top player won’t represent her country but will compete in Stuttgart immediately after BJK Cup weekend.

And there have been further questions given Raducanu’s Porsche sponsorship, as the car dealer is also the title sponsor of the tournament in Stuttgart – the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – and will likely have a commitment to play the event. But there are three reasons why she has made the right decision for herself, and potentially for the team.

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Raducanu played in Stuttgart last year and reached the quarter-final in what was her best showing since winning the 2021 US Open. It means that she is defending 100 of her 784 ranking points at the clay-court event and must attempt to retain them as she currently risks having her standing slip below the entry cut-off for Grand Slam events like Wimbledon.

The current world No 77 peaked at No 10 in the world last year and has already established that she is hoping to slowly build her ranking up this year – and will need to defend her points before she can think about adding to them. Raducanu is then also defending 120 points from a Madrid last-16 showing in the next clay event of the year, so will want plenty of time on the surface instead of a last-minute switch.

With the BJK Cup taking place on a hard court on April 14 and 15 – and the first event of the clay swing in Stuttgart starting on April 16 – Raducanu would likely struggle to adjust and could risk early defeats in her clay events without enough preparation. It’s another reason why the Brit must be selfish and stop herself from facing a one-day turnaround to travel to a tournament and change surfaces.

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And it also isn’t the worst outcome for the team itself to be left without Raducanu, as Keothavong’s five-woman squad is the exact same lineup Britain had during November’s BJK Cup finals. Dart, Watson, Boulter, Barnett and Nicholls helped Britain reach its first semi-final at the tournament since 1981 – proving that they have what it takes to lead the team to victory.

Raducanu has been called up to the BJK Cup squad just once – for last year’s qualifier weekend in Prague – and won her first match before blistering saw her take just two games in a heavy defeat to Marketa Vondrousova. The 20-year-old has struggled with more injury woes since so it could be the best option for the team to use Dart as their No 1 player.

The current world No 109 has a stronger track record when representing her country – beating two top 35 players in Paula Badosa and Ajla Tomljanovic at November’s BJK Cup finals.

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