Emma Raducanu to play in the UK for first time in a year as Rafa Nadal fumes over French Open scheduling

EMMA RADUCANU will play next week in Nottingham – her first UK appearance since the mind-boggling US Open success.

As a result of losing in the French Open second round, the 19-year-old has decided to increase her commitments on grass next week.

The world No 12 – who has already signed up for the Birmingham Classic – has accepted a wildcard to appear at the Nottingham Open, which begins next Monday.

It will go down as a homecoming appearance for Raducanu and tickets are expected to sell out due to her presence.

It was at this venue 12 months ago where she began her journey on the WTA Tour, losing her first pro match 6-3 6-4 to Harriet Dart in the round of 64.

Few could have anticipated what was to follow – a Last 16 appearance at Wimbledon, and then the epic victory in New York against all the odds and expectations.

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Raducanu said: “I’m excited to return to Nottingham and it will be a great opportunity to play in front of British crowds for the first time this year.

“This event will always be special to me as I played my first tournament on the WTA Tour here last June and I can’t wait to go back.”

British No 2 Dan Evans will also play at the Nottingham Tennis Centre in the ATP Challenger event.

Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal’s camp are furious his scheduling pleas were ignored by French Open bosses – despite him being their greatest ever champion.

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The Roland Garros quarter-final between Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be played this evening in Paris when it will be cooler and conditions will be much slower.

That should suit Djokovic, 35, who came through an epic curfew-bending semi-final as he went on to win the 2021 tournament.

Nadal, who is 36 on Friday, requested the match was played in the afternoon but this was ignored for the prime-time night-time slot – especially as it will be made free-to-air for TV viewers.

The 13-time singles winner said last Friday he “doesn’t like night sessions on clay” because the “humidity is higher, the ball is slower”.

His coach Carlos Moya said: “I would not speak of a lack of respect.

“Here at Roland-Garros, Rafa has credit, he has won the tournament 13 times and if he has a request you should listen to him.

“He is part of the history of Roland-Garros, we know that no one is greater than Roland-Garros.

“No one is bigger than the Grand Slam tournaments, but in the end it’s about business and we understand.”

This is the 59th time the legends have played each other and John McEnroe says it is the greatest rivalry in tennis.

The American, whose battles with Bjorn Borg defined the sport in the 70s and 80s, said: “I sort of feel jealous. I wish Bjorn and I had played a lot more.

“It shows you that when you play that many times you must be doing something right for a long time. They consistently have just outclassed everyone. It’s remarkable.”

World No.1 Djokovic has had to contend with some boos in previous matches and made a point of cupping his ears to disgruntled punters.

McEnroe, who is a Eurosport expert for this tournament, said: “I think it’s unfair personally. He is respected here but I’m sure it’s frustrating.

“He’s actually shown a lot of emotion, he is fired up. People should love that. The French, they love that.

“I didn’t do so well with the booing. It affected me more than it helped me. There were times where it fuelled me but he has consistently done. I mean he is a remarkable person and player.”

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