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Britain’s Emma Raducanu has described herself as a “loner” as she explained how she is managing her first WTA Tour season following the split from her coach Torben Beltz last month, ahead of this month’s French Open.

The 19-year-old has been figuring out how to adapt to the surface without the help of a full-time coach, citing the need to move to a different training model, and has taken a liking to the independence of coaching herself.

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“I’d describe myself as a loner,” Raducanu, who faces Bianca Andreescu in the Italian Open first round this week, told reporters.

“For the past year … I’ve had a lot of people around me a lot and very often. To be on my own is interesting because I’m kind of finding out a lot about myself, understanding what I need and what I don’t need.”

The U.S Open champion has little experience on clay at the elite level but she said she is heading in the right direction on the surface ahead of the French Open which starts on May 16.

Raducanu has had mixed results following her maiden Grand Slam title at last year’s U.S. Open but has had an encouraging run in the claycourt season where she reached the Stuttgart quarterfinals and Madrid round of 16.

Raducanu played her first professional match on clay in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers last month and said she has been learning about the surface as she plays.

“Clay is very new to me,” she added. “I definitely feel like I have been progressing with each week, improving, getting a better understanding of how to play points, when to stay in the point or when to stay aggressive.

“I don’t think I’m like the finished product at all. But, yeah, I’m heading in a good direction.”

Raducanu added she is “managing” the back problem she sustained at the Madrid open, and other niggles from the Tour so far.

“I think it’s just coming from a lot of intensity and overload,” she said. “My back, I’m managing it. Like it’s fine. But it’s just trying to adapt again to the long matches, to the intensity.

“I think that all of the small sort of niggles I’m getting, they’re all related and connected to each other, when something is overcompensating perhaps. Yeah, we’ll see.”

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.


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