Emma Raducanu says she won’t cut back on money-spinning commercial appearances as she defends attending Dubai luxury hotel opening

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Emma Raducanu says she won’t make changes to her busy commercial schedule after she defended attending the opening of a luxury hotel in Dubai just two days before crashing out of a tennis tournament.  The 2021 US Open champion surprised many tennis fans during the Qatar Open when she decided not to travel directly to Doha for a match against Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina.

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Instead, Ms Raducanu travelled to Dubai where she attended the opening of the One&Only One Za’abeel hotel alongside the former supermodel Naomi Campbell. Ms Raducanu then went on to lose against Ms Kalinina on February 12.

Although it is not unusual for players to attend sponsorship events before a tournament, in Ms Raducanu’s case it is rare to attend an event in a separate country 48 hours before the match.  Ms Raducanu has come under fire for her array of big-money sponsorship deals in the past – taking part in tie-ups with British Airways, Dior, Evian, HSBC, Porsche, Tiffany, Vodafone and Nike.

emma friendsEmma Raducanu attended the grand opening of the One&Only One Za’abeel hotel in Dubai with former supermodel Naomi Campbell. The event was just 48 hours before a tennis match in Doha

Management for the star have insisted in the past that her commercial deals do not distract from her ability to play on court, but she has struggled to find form since picking up her maiden grand slam at the US Open in 2021.

Asked if she would cut back on off-court events, she told the The Times: ‘Not at all actually. I think that I trained [with] three hours of tennis, an hour and a half in the gym and had two hours off in the evening. But I don’t know, you should tell me what I should do in my off time from 8pm till 10pm.

‘It’s basically like training in Dubai and then having a nice dinner with a lot of people. The only difference is my dinners go public.’  The 21-year-old tennis player is competing in the Indian Wells Tournament in California today against Spanish player Rebeka Masarova. Her participation in the tournament is part of Ms Raducanu’s comeback to the sport after operations on her wrists and her ankle last year.

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Despite not winning a consecutive match this year and facing the possibility of slipping down the rankings if she loses to number 96 Ms Masarova, Ms Raducanu says she feels less pressure this year compared to when she won the US Open at just 18-years-old.

She said: ‘At this point I don’t really care what my ranking is.  ‘People ask me what it is, I don’t really know. I’m just focused on my development and my own path because I actually believe that I’m tracking nicely and that I’m developing in a good way’.  She added: ‘The margins between losing and winning are so fine and I think I’m working on those, working on my game, so that’s all that matters to me.’


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